Skip to main content

Full text of "A Short History Of Confucian Philosophy"

See other formats


<OU1 60359 >m 

THIS book presents a systematic account of 
Confucianism as it has been developed by 
great Chinese thinkers from Confucius, 
Mencius, and Hsun-tzu to Ghu llbi and 
Wang Yang-mi ng. In this survey other 
schools of Chinese philosophy are also 
described in their relation to the Con- 
fucian school. Thus, it brings into clear 
perspective the place of Confucianism in the 
history of Chinese thought and its signi- 
ficance as a living influence on the Chinese 

In the preparation of this work, the 
author has availed himself of Chinese 
material as well as Western translations and 
studies. While admittedly an original piece 
of research, the book is written in a simple 
literary style. 

For a complete list of booh available 

please write to Penguin Books, whose 

address can be found on the 

back of the title page 

A Short History of 
Confucian Philosophy 





Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, Middlesex 
V.S.A.: Penguin Books Inc., 3300 Clipper Mill Road, Bdltimoie 11, Md 

CANADA Penguin Books ( Canada) Ltd, 47 Green Street, 
Saint Lambert, Montreal, P.Q. 

AUSTRALIA Penguin Books Pty Ltd, 762 Whitehorsc Road, 
Mitcham, Victona 

SOUTH AFRICA. Penguin Books (S.A ) Pty Ltd, Gibraltar House, 
Regents Road, Sea Point, Cape Town 

First published 1955 

Made and printed in Great Britain 

by The Whitefnars Press Ltd 

London and Tonbridge 





1 . On the Greatness ofju Philosophy - A Prelude 1 3 

2. Scholars or 'Weaklings'? 14 

3. A Great Ju Rises in the East 1 7 

4. The Brave New World of Education 1 8 

5. A Happy Innovation 2 1 

6. Short of a Miracle: the Professionals turned Philosophers 23 


1. The Diffusion of Master King's Teaching 26 

2. Eight Divisions of the K'ung School 27 

3. The Analects - the Master's Testament 28 

4. The Great Learning 30 

5. Tzu-ssti, a Worthy Heir of the K'ung House 31 

6. The Doctrine of the Mean 32 


1 . The Period of the Warring States 36 

2. The Battle of Minds 38 

3. The Triumph of the Female 39 

4. An All-embracing Love 43 

5. The Happiness of being Non-moral 48 

6. The Dream of a Butterfly 50 

7. The White Horse and What Not 55 


i . Meng If '0, the Second Sage 59 

a. 'Be Strong to do Good' 61 

3. Profit versus Virtue 63 

4. Below the Gate of Grain 65 

5. Master Meng is not Fond of Arguing 68 

6. The Hermit and the Goose 70 

7. Master Hsu has his Troubles 70 

8. The Hand that Rescues a Drowning Sister-in-law 72 




1. The Innate Goodness of Hianan Nature 74 

2. An Allegory of the Virgin Forest 76 

3. Four Limbs of a Man 77 

4. The Disgraceful Man of Ch'i 79 

5. The Heart of a Naked Child 80 

6. Three Treasures of a Prince 83 

7. The Mandate of Heaven 86 


1 . Master Hsun, the Magistrate ofLan-ling 90 

2. The Great 'Weaklings' 91 

3. Religion Divorced from Philosophy 93 

4. Human Nature is Evil 96 

5. Making Poetry of Daily Life 98 

6. An Expression of Joy 100 

7. The Philosophy of Culture 102 


1. The Rise of the Legalist School 105 

2. Philosophers and Administrators 106 

3. -4 Synthesis of Legalist Ideas 109 

4. K'ung Scholars under Fire 1 1 1 

5. The End of an Epoch 113 

6. -<4 .Fflta/ Banquet 115 

7. The Great Catastrophe 116 



1. The Revival of Learning 118 

2. Eruditi of the Five Classics 120 

3. The 'Science of Catastrophes and Anomalies* 1 24 

4. Taw Imperial Conferences 1 26 

5. 0/</ Script versus the Modern 1 28 

6. The Voice of Rationalism 131 

7. Master K'ung Canonized 133 


1. A Light from 'the Western World 9 136 

2. An Attack on Buddha 9 s Finger-bone 138 

3. Tzoo Friends in a Great Debate 141 



4. 'The Restoration of Human Nature* 142 

5. Contemplation and Enlightenment 144 

6. The Whole Universe is Man's Dwelling Place 146 



1. A Tribute to the Sung Philosophers 151 

2. In the Den of Tranquil Delight 1 5 1 

3. The Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate 153 

4. The Magic of Numbers 155 

5. The Unity of Heaven and Man 157 

6. Above Shape and Below Shape 159 

7. The Great Summation 160 



1 . A Philosophical Debate at the Goose Lake Monastery j 65 

2. The Principle of the Bamboo 167 

3. Intuition, not Investigation 169 

4. The Unity of Knowledge and Practice 171 

5. Centuries of Dreary Scholarship 173 

6. A Textual Criticism that Claims to be Scientific 1 75 


1 . New Wine in Old Bottles 1 78 

2. A World Utopia 180 

3. An Abortive Attempt to Deify Master K'ung 183 

4. Down with K'ung & Sons! 185 

5. An Afterglow 187 

6. Verdict Unknown 190 

APPENDIX I : Periods of Chinese History 195 
APPENDIX 1 1 : Chinese Philosophers in the Classical Age 1 96 

NOTES 197 

Part One: English books 209 

Part Two: Chinese books 214 

INDEX 221 


CONFUCIANISM, the subject of this book, is unique among the 
world's great teachings in that, unlike Christianity, Buddhism, and 
Mohammedanism, it remains to this day a philosophy pure and 
simple. Perhaps it is also due to its non-religious nature that Con- 
fucianism is the least aggressive of all the doctrines. This of course 
does not mean that it is static. On the contrary, Confucianism still 
spreads and conquers by dint of argument and conviction as it did 
in ancient China, and later in Korea and Japan, making the 
Orient of the Middle Ages a virtual home of the big Confucian 

The distinguishing features of Confucianism are many. First of 
all, it is a moral system which is both practical and practicable. 
Without any trace of the metaphysical and the supernatural, its 
contents are readily understood by the man in the street; and its 
ethical teachings, replete with wisdom and common sense, can be 
applied in daily life. Furthermore, Confucianism excels in its 
adaptability to varying circumstances and in its magnetism, which 
attracts whatever is good and useful. In this way, Confucianism, 
ever growing with time, has become a treasure house of the age-old 
experiences of the Chinese people Hence the chief strength of Con- 
fucianism is its flexibility, a remarkable quality that enables it to 
resist all pressures and to face all adversities. For this reason, 
though suffering eclipse from time to time, it has always emerged 
with renewed brilliance. 

As a matter of fact, these virtues of Confucianism are also the 
virtues of the Chinese people. It is a moot question whether it is 
Confucianism that has moulded the Chinese character and made 
it what it is, or whether it is the Chinese genius that has created the 
kind of philosophy that is Confucianism. But, whatever it be, it is 
obvious that the Chinese are essentially Confucian in their outlook, 
and that except for some Buddhist and Taoist trends in the arts 
and letters, Chinese culture and Confucianism are almost synony- 
mous, if not identical. 

But what, after all, is this thousand-ycar-old-dogma that has so 
strangely, and yet so strongly, welded the Chinese nation ? What, 
for instance, was its origin; how did it develop; and who were its 
great exponents? Moreover, what was its relation to the other 


philosophical schools of ancient China, which were then so numer- 
ous that a hundred of them are supposed to have existed; and how, 
in spite of them, did it succeed in dominating Chinese thought, the 
history of which is not much more than the history of Con- 
fucianism ? 

All these are pertinent questions, to which, unfortunately, no 
definite answers have so far been given in the English language. 
This neglect is also reflected in the treatment Confucianism re- 
ceives in a number of books on the story of philosophy. It is there- 
fore our hope that the present work will not only supply the much- 
needed information on this important subject, but also claim for it 
a place in world philosophy, where, in our opinion, it properly 




THE author is indebted to the following writers for their transla- 
tions from the Chinese Classics : to J. Legge for his translation of 
the Analects (Lun-yii) ; to Legge and E. R. Hughes for their transla- 
tions of the Doctrine of the Mean (Chung-yung) and The Great 
Learning (Ta-hsueh) ; to Legge, L. A. Lyall, and L. Giles for their 
translations from the Works of Mencius (Meng-tzu) ; to A. Waley 
and Lin Yutang for their translations of the Clastic of Tao (Tao 
Teh Ching) ; to H. A. Giles, Fung Yu-lan, and Liri Yutang for 
their translations of the Chuang-tzu; to Mei Yi-pao for his transla- 
tion of the Mo-tzii\ to Anton Forke for his translation of Yang 
Chu; to H. H. Dubs for his translation of the Hwn-tzu\ to Alfred 
Forke for his translation of Wang Ch'ung's Lun Heng; to D. Bodde 
for his translation of the writings of the Sung Neo-Confucianists 
quoted in Fung Yu-lan's History of Chinese Philosophy; to P. Bruce 
for his translation of Chu Hsi; to F. G. Henke for his translation 
of Wang Yang-rning. 

He is also grateful to the Bollingen Foundation in New York for 
a grant-in-aid for the writing of this book. 


Chapter One 


i. On the Greatness ofjfu Philosophy - A Prelude 

THE Ju philosophy that has dominated Chinese thought 
for the last twenty-five centuries had its beginning in the 
teachings of K'ung Ch'iu (551-479 B.C.), commonly known 
as Confucius, founder of the Ju school. Because of its long, 
eminent tradition, Ju philosophy also exerted the greatest 
influence on Chinese life. It moulded the national charac- 
ter; it touched every corner of human activity; it per- 
meated life in all its aspects, whether moral, political, or 
social. It also gave continuity to a remarkable old civiliza- 
tion which, far from becoming extinct or stunted in its 
growth, showed rather a wonderful vitality in its struggle 
for survival and supremacy. 

For one thing, the greatness of Ju philosophy is due to its 
power of adaptation. Phoenix-like, it has been constantly 
reborn and reorientated. Like the Chinese race, which con- 
quered not by force, but by assimilation, the Ju philosophy 
also eliminated its rivals by virtue of absorption until all 
that was good and useful in the other doctrines became 
incorporated in its grand melting-pot, which was Chinese 
culture itself. Originally, these were separate systems of 
thought like Mohism, Legalism, Taoism, and Buddhism, 
but they were all pressed upon to contribute generously to 
the Ju stock, thus saving it from exhaustion. 

As a result of this process of development, Ju philosophy 
to-day is just as different from the original teachings of 
K'ung Ch'iu as the latter is, for instance, from the teach- 
ings of Christ. To be sure, the words of K'ung Ch'iu still 
form the kernel of the Ju concept, but in the course of its 
evolution it has acquired so many novel ideas and inter- 
pretations that the main bulk of Ju philosophy to-day would 



be hardly recognizable to its great progenitor himself. This 
transformation, of course, was obviously healthy. Though 
there have been many complaints by the orthodox against 
this admixture of foreign elements, yet considered as a 
whole, these additions are really what gave impetus and 
animation to an ancient system of thought, which, but for 
these injections of new blood, would certainly have become 
anaemic long ago. 

Important because of its tremendous impact upon Chin- 
ese life, the evolution of Ju philosophy is as complicated as 
it is interesting. To trace the various stages of this develop- 
ment and the main ideological trends with which it has 
come into contact is in fact to write a history of Chinese 
thought itself. But before we start on this long and arduous 
historical journey, let us pause first to have a look at the 
origin of the word Ju as well as at the Ju profession that 
flourished in the feudal society of the Chou period. 

2. Scholars or 'Weaklings'? 

In current usage, the word Ju means a scholar of the K'ung 
school. As such he is to be distinguished from the Buddhist 
or Taoist teacher, who holds an altogether different view of 
life. The close association between Ju and K'ung has also 
led Western writers, after they smugly transformed K'ung- 
fu-tzu, or Master K'ung, to Confucius, to call the Ju 
teaching Confucianism and the Ju followers Confucianists. 
Though this is un- Chinese, yet in the sense that K'ung 
Ch'iu was the protagonist of the school, the translation is 
by no means entirely unacceptable. 

But originally, there was also another meaning to the 
word Ju. Etymology tells us that Ju is a combination of 
two radicals, 'man' and 'weakness'. Hence the question 
naturally arises as to who these 'weaklings' were, if there 
was ever such a class of people. This is indeed a most 
intriguing question, to which, unfortunately, no clue has 
been given by the early Chinese writers. It is only in recent 



years that critics have begun to delve into the subject with 
apparently rich findings. 

So far, two theories have been advanced. 1 According to 
the first, these 'weaklings' were actually descendants of the 
Shang people, whose dynasty had been overthrown by the 
Chou people in the twelfth century B.C. Being the survivors 
of a subjugated race, they extolled the virtue of weakness, 
or rather, the strength of weakness, as the best means of 
self-preservation. Degraded and dispossessed, but neverthe- 
less rich in ceremonial knowledge, they made a living 
among their conquerors by assisting in funerals, marriages, 
and other occasions in the households of the Chou over- 
lords. Because of their humble manners and occupation, so 
it is asserted, these Shang descendants earned for them- 
selves the contemptible name of * weaklings'. 

Another theory, which we hold, is that these 'weaklings' 
were not the remnants of the once great but now degenera- 
ted Shang race, but disinherited members of the Chou 
aristocracy, who, in spite of their blue blood, had drifted 
into commonalty during the long centuries of the Chou 
dynasty. They were either offspring of the cadet branches 
of some noble family far removed from its great founder, 
or aristocrats who had been degraded into commoners. In 
either case, they had lost their rank and revenue as well as 
their special privileges. Though not as helpless as the ignor- 
ant peasants, who toiled all their lives on the soil, they were 
nevertheless so reduced in their circumstances that they had 
to employ whatever talents they might have acquired in the 
good old days to make a living. They thus became a new 
middle class between the patricians and the plebeians. 

The number of such dispossessed nobles increased 
rapidly in the decades shortly before the advent of K'ung 
Ch'iu in the sixth century B.C. The feudal structure of Chou 
society built up by the great Duke of Chou 2 had been 
steadily crumbling since the removal of the Chou capital 
eastward to Lo in 770 B.C., but the process of deterioration 
did not assume alarming proportions until a century later. 
There emerged from this social transformation a new group 



of people, intelligent, resourceful, and eager to carve out a 
worthy career for themselves. But their inborn nobility and 
ambition notwithstanding, they were poor and powerless, 
and the best they could do was to become potential office- 

What kind of talents did these people possess with which 
to earn a living ? As former aristocrats, they must have been 
familiar with some or all of the six arts that were the hall- 
mark of a noble education, namely, ceremonials and music, 
history (or writing) and numbers, archery and charioteer- 
ing. As we can easily see, these were also good practical sub- 
jects, a knowledge of which would render a man useful to 
his feudal superiors. A knowledge of archery and charioteer- 
ing, for instance, would qualify one to be a military com- 
mander or governor of a walled town, while a knowledge of 
writing and numbers would make one a good steward in the 
ministerial families. Likewise, as an expert in music and 
rituals, one could either become a tutor to the fledgling 
aristocrats or serve as a functionary on solemn ceremonial 
occasions. The roles indeed were many in which these im- 
poverished, disinherited nobles could employ their parts to 

At the same time, their rank and file was further swelled 
by a large number of diviners, historiographers, and cere- 
monial and music masters, who were originally attached to 
the court, but who had lost their positions because of the 
dissolution of the feudal system and the decline and fall of 
the small principalities. Since their offices were formerly 
hereditary, they had been for many centuries custodians of 
Chinese culture, which, like the Promethean fire, had been 
jealously kept from the common people. But now, com- 
moners themselves as a result of the great social upheaval, 
these forlorn intellectuals began to dole out their Olympian 
knowledge to ail and sundry who had the means and the de- 
sire to learn. Thus was ushered in a new era noted for its 
wide diffusion of learning. 

In the very beginning, we suspect, no name was given to 
this intellectual professional group. Apparently, their inter- 



csts were greatly varied, and their jobs, now no longer here- 
ditary, of a miscellaneous nature. No one word, indeed, 
could cover the multitudinous activities in which they were 
severally engaged. But for one of these professions a term 
had been coined, though it was by no means frequently 
used in K'ung Ch'iu's time. This was the word Ju, de- 
noting a soft-spoken, genteel intellectual whose job it was 
to assist at the ceremonies in the noble households. As the 
aristocratic society of the Chou period was extremely ritual- 
istic, and its code of etiquette, known as Ii 9 highly elaborate, 
no ordinary man could conduct with propriety and profici- 
ency such family ceremonies as capping and coiffure, mar- 
riage and funerals; or such stately entertainments as ban- 
queting and archery contests; or the elaborate religious ob- 
servances in the ancestral temples. Experts were needed for 
such occasions and there soon appeared a group of people 
who specialized in all these branches of ritual and who were 
at the beck and call of any noble patron. To distinguish 
themselves, they were dressed in special costumes that be- 
spoke their profession. Thus, wearing broad-sleeved robes 
girdled with silk sashes and trimmed with jade tablets, high 
round feather hats and square shoes, these men of li must 
have walked demurely, bowed deeply, and acted decorously 
- all of which earned for them the nickname of 'weaklings'. 

3. A Great Ju Rises in the East 

JUST about this time there rose in Lu, one of the eastern 
states in the Chou kingdom, a remarkable young man by 
the name of K'ung Ch'iu. He was one of those disinherited 
nobles who claimed their ancestry from the ducal house of 
Sung, and thence from the fallen house of Shang. But by 
this time the royal blood had been so diluted that little of 
it was left in him except that which showed in the superior 
intelligence of the young man. This was in fact the only 
patrimony he had received from his great ancestors, or from 
his own father, a minor military official, who had died a few 
years after the boy's birth, leaving him and his mother to 


take care of themselves as best they could. Faced with the 
problem of making a living, young K'ung Gh*iu first took 
office as overseer of the granary and later of the herds. 

This was in line with the tradition of his people, who, as 
dispossessed aristocrats, had to seek miscellaneous jobs for a 
living. Since he had had no formal instruction in the useful 
arts, what else could K'ung Ch'iu do but take up this mean 
employment? Just as his father before him had become an 
army officer, so K'ung Ch'iu became a state employee. As 
such, he was known to have been a hard, conscientious 
worker, who always kept a correct account of the grain and 
fed his oxen and sheep so well that they grew fat and strong 
and multiplied. It was no doubt in recognition of these ser- 
vices that, when a male child was born to K'ung Gh c iu, the 
Duke of Lu sent him the ceremonial present of a carp. One 
can well imagine the excitement which the gift created in 
the humble K'ung family. Indeed, in token of this great 
honour, the boy was named Li, or carp ! 

But, if circumstances had forced him to accept these petty 
positions, the ambitious and idealistic K'ung Ch'iu was by 
no means satisfied. He was looking forward to employment 
more congenial to his nature and worthier of his talents. The 
break came when his mother died and he was forced to go 
into seclusion for three years in accordance with the prevail- 
ing custom. Great thoughts, it seems, were then agitating 
his breast, and he began to make preparations for launching 
out into a brave new world hitherto unexplored. 

4. The Brave New World of Education 

WHEN at the age of thirty-four K'ung Gh'iu next emerged 
into public notice, he was already a distinguished teacher of 
ceremony. We know practically nothing about his life in the 
intervening years except that during this period he had been 
exploring all the avenues of learning in order to improve 
himself. There is no doubt, however, that he became, 
through sheer diligent study, an expert in the code of li. The 
period of mourning over, this self-made scholar soon started 



as a public teacher, gathering to his door young men inter- 
ested in acquiring training for a profession. Even though his 
father had been an army officer and he himself was familiar 
with archery and charioteering, K'ung Gh'iu, it seems, did 
not include military science in his curriculum. What he 
taught was It, his main subject, as well as writing, numbers, 
and oratory. All these qualified his students for government 
jobs and stewardships in aristocratic households. 

There was nothing startling in this educational pro- 
gramme. But what was original was the way in which 
K'ung Ch'iu enlisted his students. In former days there had 
been official teachers, whose duty it was to educate the 
scions of the overlords in the six arts. These hereditary peda- 
gogues were part of the aristocratic appanage, and their 
learning was available only to the rulers and their sons. Be- 
sides, there might have been in K'ung Ch'iu's time private 
tutors who could be hired by anyone. But, to set up a sort of 
school for young men of all classes was something unheard of 
in history; at least, there is no record of such a practice be- 
fore the sixth century B.C. It was a daring experiment first 
made by K'ung Ch'iu, and his success led to the rapid de- 
velopment of the system in the decades after him. 

The new schoolmaster, moreover, was a man of great 
vision. Tuition, of course, he had to charge in order to carry 
on his work, but it was so nominal - just a bundle of dried 
meat that it was within the means of the humblest. Scions 
of noble families, who were able to pay liberally, were wel- 
come, but no intelligent young man who had the desire to 
learn ever found the door of the K'ung school closed to him. 
This democratic basis of admission was the more remark- 
able when we remember that K'ung Gh'iu lived in the feu- 
dal period when there was still a great dividing line between 
aristocracy and commonalty. But to K'ung Ch'iu, the first 
teacher, such distinctions did not exist; certainly, they were 
overlooked in his school-room. Very proudly he announced 
to his students: 'There is no class in education.* 3 

Master K'ung's educational policy being such, all sorts of 
young men flocked to his schoolroom. There was Tzu-lu, 


once a swashbuckling bravado, who died a loyal official and 
a martyr to the cause of/?; there was Yen Hui, a poor but 
industrious scholar, who was satisfied with his bamboo bowl 
of rice and his gourd cup of water; there was Ssii-ma Niu, 
in constant fear of persecution by his elder brother, a 
wicked minister of Sung; there was Kung-yeh Ch'ang, who, 
while studying with the Master, was thrown into jail; there 
was Tsai-yii, who fell to day-dreaming during the Master's 
lecture ; there was Fan Chi, who seemed to be more interest- 
ed in gardening and farming than in literature and politics ; 
there was Kung-hsi Chih, a ceremonial expert in the great 
ceremonial school; and many others from every walk of 
life, equally rich and diversified in their personality. What a 
galaxy of wits these were that enlivened the happy atmos- 
phere of the K'ung school ! 

As a result of Master K'ung's indefatigable teaching, a 
number of his students became ritual experts, stewards of 
ministerial families, governors of walled towns, officials, 
courtiers, as well as teachers. By this time, K'ung Ch'iu, 
who had started as a teacher of ceremonies, had greatly 
widened his scope of instruction to include in his curriculum 
history and poetry, ethics and politics, all of which were 
essential to a successful public career. The importance of 
historical knowledge to government officials is readily 
understood ; but, in those days, poetry too played a vital part 
in diplomatic intercourse, in which ancient odes were often 
quoted not only to show the speaker's good breeding, but 
also to illustrate and support by subtle implication the argu- 
ment to be advanced. Especially among his younger stu- 
dents, both these subjects were studied with increasing in- 
terest, and the literary tradition of the K'ung school was 
thus established. 

In the meantime, Master K'ung had grown more experi- 
enced in human affairs, just as he had become more ad- 
vanced in learning. Desiring to study its culture at first 
hand, he had visited Lo, the Chou capital. There he had 
learned from Lao-tan, the great ceremonialist and keeper of 
the royal archives. Next, he had visited Ch'i, where he had 



become acquainted with its divine music, which so en- 
grossed him that he is said to have forgotten the taste of 
meat for three months. He had also filled responsible ad- 
ministrative positions in Lu, first as magistrate, then as 
minister of crime and, possibly, as acting premier. He had 
taken part in the diplomatic conference between Ch'i and 
Lu, in which his supreme knowledge of ritual had won for 
his state a great moral triumph. Later, when he had had to 
give up his office in Lu, he had spent thirteen or fourteen 
years abroad; travelling, teaching, and visiting the feudal 
rulers of his time. When at last he was recalled to Lu, he 
was already an old man, an elder statesman, whose advice 
was constantly sought after by both the reigning duke and 
his chief minister. The humble overseer of herds, who had 
turned schoolmaster, was now the most honoured man in 
his native state; he was also the most learned scholar of the 
Chinese world. 

5. A Happy Innovation 

A NEW inspiration seized K/ung Ch'iu in the last years of 
his life. He must have then realized that his days were fast 
running short, and that, if he had successfully initiated a 
noble profession, he was by no means sure that his doctrines 
would be handed down intact through mere oral tradition. 
Something, it seemed, should be done to insure their preser- 
vation in future years. Hence, thoughts like these led ulti- 
mately to his becoming a literary editor and anthologist. 

K'ung Ch'iu, an authority on Chou culture, was also its 
preserver. For many years he had industriously gathered all 
the literary materials that he could lay his hands on. In this 
attempt he was more than fortunate, for at that time many 
of the official documents formerly kept in the court archives 
and ancestral temples had begun to leak out to the public. 
In addition, he must have obtained a large part of his ma- 
terials through his connexions with the feudal courts. In Lu, 
which had long been the centre of Ghou culture, he had had 
direct access to valuable sources hitherto not available to 
the common people. His trip to the Chou capital must also 



have yielded a rich harvest, as undoubtedly did his visit to 
the other states. What he had collected, however, was 
mostly unedited material in bundles of bamboo tablets that 
had to be strung together with leather thongs. Books in the 
modern sense of the word did not exist; and Master K'ung, 
the pedagogue, soon became China's first book-maker. 

K'ung Ch'iu's contribution to Chinese literature can 
never be over-estimated. He it was who first brought to- 
gether the Chou classics under the name of his school. It is 
possible, of course, that portions of the Classic of Poetry and 
the Classic of History had been in circulation long before 
K'ung Ch'iu's time. But it is doubtful whether they ever ex- 
isted in the form left to us by him, who was in this sense their 
f sole begetter'. 4 To be sure, what he actually did was merely 
to collate and edit, but even so, this work that seems so con- 
ventional and simple to us, was in those days certainly an 
epoch-making innovation. 

Unfortunately, Anthologist K'ung's labour on rituals and 
music has been lost to posterity. The Record of Rites that we 
have is a compilation of the Han dynasty, though it may 
retain much of the original material as well as many of the 
Master's observations on these subjects. 

The Classic of Change, a manual of divination, said to have 
been written by King Wen, founder of the Chou dynasty, 
and the Duke of Chou, is probably the earliest Chinese book 
extant. Its mysterious contents seem to have fascinated 
K'ung Ch'iu in his last years, but his share in this work 13 
rather uncertain. According to some critics, even the philo- 
sophical interpretation given it in the ten 'Wings' or 'Ap- 
pendices' traditionally attributed to Master K'ung might 
have come from another pen. 

So far, in all the works we have mentioned, K'ung Ch'iu 
was satisfied to play the role of a transmitter. 5 It was a great 
role without doubt, for what he transmitted was none other 
than the main bulk of ancient Chinese culture. But that was 
not all. To K'ung Ch'iu also belonged the honour of being 
the first Chinese author, a great honour indeed. 

As a writer, K'ung Ch'iu is chiefly remembered for his 



Spring and Autumn, annals of Lu covering the reigns of its 
twelve dukes from 722-481 B.C. It was. probably the last 
literary work that he undertook. As the first Chinese book 
written by a private individual, 6 it had an immense historical 
interest. As a matter of fact, K'ung Gh'iu himself entertained 
such a high opinion of this unprecedented adventure that he 
staked his reputation on it. Said he: 'If anyone recognizes 
my greatness in future generations, it will be because of the 
Spring and Autumn. If any one condemns me in future genera- 
tions, it will likewise be because of the Spring and Autumn* 7 
Such being the author's opinion of the Spring and Autumn, 
it comes as a surprise that the book contains merely a list of 
dry, uninspiring entries under the reign of each of the twelve 
dukes. But we have an explanation for this. In K'ung Ch'iu's 
time the Chinese language, as we know, had not attained 
that flexibility, eloquence, and richness which characterize 
the historical and philosophical writings of a later period. 
K*ung Ch'iu's style, therefore, was simple, straightforward, 
and factual. This, too, was natural enough, because it was 
only the facts, the bare historical events of his native state 
and the confederated Chou world, in which he was pri- 
marily interested. But even here little credit was due to the 
writer, who did not first record these events, but took them 
from the official chronicles of Lu. Hence K'ung Ch'iu's 
originality consisted merely in his arrangement of the en- 
tries, his wording, his style, and his purpose, which was to 
use the past to mirror the present and the future. 8 If this 
first historical book by a private individual fails to meet our 
expectation as a great work of literature, we must bear in 
mind that it is after all only an innovation. 

6. Short of a Miracle: the Professionals turned Philosophers 

WHEN K'ung Ch c iu died in 479 B.C. at the age of seventy- 
three, his mission of embodying in himself and his school the 
best of orthodox Chou culture had been accomplished. As 
we remember, he started his career as a ritual expert, 
vaguely known in those days as Ju, but soon became famous 



as a scholar of wide learning. Though a Ju by profession, he 
seemed to have used the word rather gingerly in his recorded 
sayings. In fact, only once did he mention it, and that was 
when he advised Tzu-hsia, one of his younger pupils, to be- 
come a noble, and not a lowly, Ju. Here, however, the 
meaning is somewhat equivocal. Since Tzu-hsia has never 
been known as a ritual practitioner, we might infer that the 
Master was using the word in the broader sense of a scholar 
rather than in its original sense of a mild-dispositioned man 
of IL Anyway, the Ju class, from which K'ung Ch'iu sprang, 
and of which he was the greatest representative, had been so 
closely identified with him that Ju and K'ung soon became 
synonymous. Meanwhile, the word Ju began to assume its 
new meaning, as Master K'ung had used it in reference to 
Tzu-hsia, as a scholar of the K'ung school. And, most im- 
portant of all, amidst all these changes, a Ju philosophy had 
been developed. 

It all came about like this. While basing his teaching on 
the authority of the sage kings of antiquity 9 and the ortho- 
dox feudal concepts of his time, K'ung Ch'iu, the great 
originator, soon evolved a new ethical and political philo- 
sophy of his own. In politics he contributed the idea of pa- 
ternal government, in which the ruler should govern his 
people benevolently, as a patriarch his family. And just as a 
father is bound to his children by the tic of blood, which ac- 
counts for their attachment to one another, so should a 
prince be bound to his subjects by the same inalienable tie 
of love and kindness. Hence to a ruler the most important 
consideration was the welfare of the people. To summarize, 
according to Master K'ung, the three fundamental require- 
ments of a state are that its sovereignty be safeguarded by 
adequate military strength, its welfare by sufficient food, and 
its government by the confidence of the people; of which the 
last is the most important. When we remember how the 
peasants of .those days were oppressed by the autocratic 
rulers, we can see very well why Master K'ung's principle of 
benevolent government, though to us trite and old-fashioned, 
was, when viewed historically, highly significant. 



But K'ung Ch'iu's real greatness lies in his transforming 
the feudal code of rites and etiquette into a universal system 
of ethics. It is wonderful that the humble practitioner of li 
should have become ultimately the greatest teacher of mor- 
ality ; but what is even more wonderful is that that morality, 
though 2,500 years old, is in its fundamental concept 
strikingly up to date and still aspiring. Here we are not re- 
ferring to his observations on family relationship, which 
have failed to harmonize with modern trends owing to the 
great social changes of the past centuries. But what im- 
presses us most is his lofty conception of the basic virtues of 
chung (faithfulness to oneself and others), ska (al truism), jen 
(human-heartedness),^* (righteousness), li (propriety), chih 
(wisdom), hsin (realness or sincerity), all of which the Master 
preached so forcibly and exemplified in himself so worthily 
that they have since become an ethical creed of the Chinese 
people. In fact, it was this insistence on man's moral culti- 
vation, irrespective of rank and class, that has made K'ung 
Ch'iu such an immortal teacher. Thus, though living in the 
medieval society of the sixth century B.C., he was able to 
transcend the limitations of his age and profession to de- 
velop a far-reaching philosophy with moral perfection as its 
ultimate aim. As he himself had constantly asserted, he was 
all his life championing a way of life, or truth, which he 
called tao; and he would not be satisfied until it had been 
adopted by mankind. 

The pursuit of this tao was therefore the greatest en- 
deavour of Master K'ung's life. He also taught it to his pu- 
pils, no matter what personal ambitions they might have. In 
studying with him, they might seek training as ritual func- 
tionaries, family stewards, courtiers, governors, or teachers, 
but no one could leave the door of the K'ung school without 
being instilled with a lofty sense of morality. The Master's 
enthusiasm was so intense that a number of his devoted 
disciples were fired by it. Thus these men who had come to 
him to learn a profession turned out to be the torch-bearers 
of a grand new philosophy, the Ju philosophy, whose ulti- 
mate achievement was the superior man. 


Chapter Two 


i . The Diffusion of Master K'ung's Teaching 

THE spread of K'ung Ch'iu's doctrine began not long after 
his death in 479 B.C. After having mourned together their 
Master's death, the disciples separated and went each his 
own way to carry on the orthodox teaching of their school. 
Probably those who had decided, like their Master, to make 
teaching their profession each took with him a copy of the 
ancient classics, which they had severally received from 
their Master, and which they in turn handed down to their 
students with their own expositions and comments. Thus 
there grew an ever- widening circle of scholars who took up 
the study of the old classics collected by Master K'ung; and 
as time went on these ancient writings sank deeper and 
deeper into the minds of the Chinese people. 

The other followers of Master K'ung took up administra- 
tive positions in the feudal governments and became hon- 
oured guests in the princely courts. These, too, wherever 
they went, and in whatever capacity they served, zealously 
preached the Master's views on government and ethics. 
Though their advice was never actually followed by the 
princes, it was nevertheless heard with a willing ear. At 
least, it was pleasant to hear such lofty ideas and to believe 
that an application of them some day would lead to wonder- 
ful results, perhaps a revival of the sage government of olden 

In this way did the great tradition of the Ju school grow 
and prosper. Indeed, so deeply imbued were the disciples 
with the Master's spirit, and so strongly impressed were they 
by his words of wisdom, that they kept alive the Master's 
memory by basing all their discourses on ethical and po- 
litical subjects on what the Master had said. They even 



went so far as to open their discussions with the words 'The 
Master said'. Thus it came about that a large body of 
Master K'ung's sayings were collected and transmitted to 
posterity as the best testimony to the sage's abiding great- 

2. Eight Divisions of the K'ung School 

THOUGH the disciples all revered their Master's words, it 
was but natural that they should each lay particular empha- 
sis on certain aspects of his teaching. We have already seen 
how they 'majored* in different subjects while attending the 
Master's lectures. Gradually their differences grew greater 
as. they developed their respective systems of thought in 
accordance with their own interests and convictions. So 
some went deeper into politics, others considered the culti- 
vation of one's nature the goal of all endeavour, while still 
others became absorbed in the study of li and recom- 
mended it as the best remedy for the moral degeneration of 
the times. 

Especially among the younger generation, who carried on 
the task of preserving and propagating the Master's doc- 
trines, was there a great deal of rivalry and dissension. In 
consequence various groups emerged, though there was no 
clear indication of the way in which the school of K'ung was 
actually divided. According to one source, there were as 
many as eight divisions; but the classification, as made by 
Han Fei, a Legalist philosopher of the third century B.C., 
was both confusing and arbitrary. It included not only the 
Master's immediate disciples like Yen Hui, Tzti-chang, and 
Ch'i-tiao K'ai (Tzu-k'ai), but also later followers like Tzu- 
ssii, the Master's grandson, and Meng K o and Hsiin 
Ch'ing, both great champions of the Ju school. As to the 
others mentioned by Han Fei, one was practically unknown, 
there being no record of him anywhere in the ancient 
writings, and the other was in fact a student of Meng K'o. 

In the opinion of posterity, however, the most important 
of the K'ung scholars was Tseng Ts'an, the arch filial- 
pietist. There is, for instance, the anecdote of his stripping 



himself naked before his death to show that he had kept in- 
tact the body his parents had bestowed on him at birth. 
Being such a paragon of filial virtue, Tseng Ts'an has been 
credited with the authorship of the Classic of Filial Piety. 
This, however, was apparently a later compilation, though 
its material might have been gathered from the teachings of 
his school. 

In a famous passage in this Classic Tseng Ts'an is repre- 
sented as having a tete-d-tete with his great Master, who 
taught him that the duty of children to parents is the foun- 
tain-head of all the virtues. 'The body and the limbs, the 
hair and the skin, are given one by one's parents/ said 
Master K'ung, 'and to them no injury should come. This 
is where filial piety begins. To establish oneself in the world 
and to promote tao is to immortalize one's name and there- 
by to glorify one's parents. This is where filial piety 
ends.' i 

In other words, filial piety was the acme of human con- 
duct according to Tseng Ts'an, who stressed moral cultiva- 
tion rather than the observance of ritual as the basis of hu- 
man endeavour. It was he who further developed the Mas- 
ter's ethical principles and, in contradistinction to the 
ceremonial, established the ethical school as the K'ung 
orthodoxy. One of the famous sayings of Tseng Ts'an was 
that he examined himself every day on three points : had he 
been self-interested in what he had done for others ? had he 
been unfaithful in his intercourse with friends ? and had he 
failed to embody in life the Master's teachings? As we can 
easily see, it was the flowering of one's moral self that was 
the goal of Tseng Ts'an's investigation. 

3. The Analects - The Master's Testament 

THE first of the Tour Books' that bore the imprint of the 
school of Tseng was a collection of the Master's sayings 
known as the Analects. Properly speaking, it was the testa- 
ment of the K'ung school, from which all later scholars, no 
matter to which group they belonged, 'gladly drew the 



source of their inspiration in thought and conduct. It is also 
here that we gain an intimate glimpse into the life and 
character of the Master himself. 

It is now difficult to reconstruct with exactness the man- 
ner in which the Analects was first compiled. Tradition has 
it that it was started by the Master's disciples at the time of 
his death. This is quite feasible, for while lingering by the 
Master's grave these devoted mourners would have little 
else to do than to recall his words and deeds, which were 
still fresh in their minds. And nothing could have been more 
natural than for them to embalm those treasured words of 
the sage, which they had severally recorded, in a permanent 
form that would preserve for ever the memory of their 
much revered teacher. 

But the work as it stands to-day has many later interpola- 
tions. It contains not only the discourse between Master 
K'ung and his pupils, but also numerous passages by Tseng 
Ts'an, Yu Jo, Tzu-yu, Tzu-chang, and Tzu-hsia, all of them 
young students of language and literature keenly interested 
in keeping alive the Master's great tradition. Thus, though 
evidences are meagre, it is safe to assert that the original 
Analects was mainly a composite work of the immediate dis- 
ciples of Master K'ung, especially of the younger set just 
mentioned. The book, however, did not reach its present 
shape until many years later in the hands of their students, 
who were two generations removed from the great Master. 
Chapter nineteen, for instance, which records the words of 
Tseng Ts'an, Tzu-yu, Tzu-hsia, and Tzu-chang, as well as 
their older colleague Tzu-kung, was certainly a later addi- 
tion. Our belief is that the anonymous editor of the book, 
who ultimately sorted and bound together the bamboo 
strips on which these discourses were inscribed, was prob- 
ably a follower of Tseng Ts'an, who, alone of the Master's 
disciples, was called by the honorary title of 'Master', while 
the others, with one exception, 2 were only mentioned by 


4. The Great Learning 

THE second important book of Master Tseng's school was 
The Great Learning, traditionally attributed to Tseng Ts'an 
himself. Modern scholars, however, tend to discredit his 
share in the book because of several passages which contain 
phrases and references definitely of a much later origin. But, 
whoever its author may be, the book was undoubtedly a 
product of Tseng Ts'an's school and represented his mature 
interpretation of the Master's political and ethical views. 

A unique feature of The Great Learning, which argues for 
its later appearance, is the connected logical reasoning it 
shows in support of a general thesis. Its prose, too, is much 
more articulate than that of the Analects. The author's ideas 
develop smoothly and cogently as he expounds step by step 
the text attributed to Master K'ung that 'the way of Great 
Learning is to illustrate illustrious virtue, to renovate the 
people, and to abide in the sovereign good.' 3 'The ancients,' 
continued the passage, 'who wished to illustrate their illus- 
trious virtue throughout the great world, set themselves to 
govern their own states well. Wishing to govern their states 
well, they started by keeping their families in order. Wishing 
to order their families well, they cultivated themselves. Wish- 
ing to cultivate themselves, they rectified their hearts; wish- 
ing to rectify their hearts, they sought to be sincere in their 
thoughts; wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they ex- 
tended their knowledge to the utmost. Such extension of 
knowledge consists in the investigation of things. 

'Things having been investigated, their knowledge be- 
came complete. Their knowledge being complete, their 
thoughts became sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their 
hearts were rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their per- 
sons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their 
families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their 
states were well governed. Their states being well governed, 
then the whole world enjoyed peace and tranquillity.' 4 

Here again we have a perfect example of the blending of 



ethics with politics, characteristic of the Ju philosophy. Ac- 
cording to it, no matter what the present trouble was and 
how much the state had fallen, moral cultivation was the 
panacea for all social diseases, because it was the foundation 
of society. It was the root of everything : a well-balanced 
individual, a well-ordered family, a well-governed state, and 
a happy and harmonious world. It was also the goal of every 
one from the Son of Heaven down to the lowliest person. 

5. Tzu-ssu, a worthy Heir of the K'ung House 

THE GREAT LEARNING has also been attributed to Tzu- 
ssu (K'ung Chieh), the Master's grandson and a disciple of 
Tseng Ts'an. Since Master K'ung's son Li had little to dis- 
tinguish him, the mantle of the K'ung family fell upon Tzu- 
ssu, who proved to be a worthy heir. From the meagre ac- 
count of his life remaining to us we learn that Tzu-ssu was 
apparently just as badly off in worldly affairs as was K'ung 
Ch'iu. Though highly honoured by the rulers of Wey and 
Lu, the young scion of the K'ung house seems to have led a 
life of privation, for the patrimony left him by his bookish 
grandsire appears to have been inadequate for a comfortable 
living. But, though poor, he would not accept gifts that were 
not properly offered. He declined, for instance, a friend's 
present of a fur coat, when the only clothing he had was a 
tattered unlined robe, because he resented being told that 
the gift was made at random. 'You give so haphazardly,' he 
told his friend, e as if you were casting your gifts into a ditch. 
Poor as I am, I cannot think of myself as a ditch.' 5 The fur 
coat, consequently, was returned to the donor. 

The same account reveals that when Tzu-ssu was in Lu, 
its duke was most assiduous in inquiring after his health and 
in sending him presents of meat from the ducal cauldron. 
But Tzu-ssu hated the idea of having to bow like a footman 
every time the gift came with a message from the duke. So 
at last he refused it on the ground that he would not be fod- 
dered like a dog or horse. On another occasion, Tzu-ssu had 
a talk with the duke himself. The latter inquired politely 


what Tzu-ssu thought of feudal princes who befriended 
scholars. Again Tzu-ssu was displeased. He replied grum- 
pily: 'The ancients have said that a scholar should be 
served, not befriended,* for Tzu-ssu believed. 'With regard 
to our stations in life, Sir, you are my lord, and I am your 
liege. How dare I be friends with you? But with regard to 
virtue, I am superior to you, and you should serve me, Sir. 
How can we be just friends?' 6 

This assertion of the scholar's dignity and independence 
was certainly more than Master K'ung could ever make. 
Perhaps the times had changed and the scholar class, 
of which Master K'ung was an epitome, had gained in 
honour and prestige in the course of two generations. Or 
perhaps it was due to the spirited temperament of Tzu-ssu 
himself, who had such a high opinion of himself that he in- 
sisted on exalting virtue and learning above all worldly ad- 
vantages. In any case, Tzu-ssu stood out among his com- 
peers as a distinguished member of the K'ung school and, 
following in the footsteps of Master Tseng, his tutor, made 
morality the highest of human attainments. 

6. The Doctrine of the Mean 

IT is rather doubtful whether Tzu-ssu had anything to do 
with The Great Learning. But to his claim as author of the 
Doctrine of the Mean, another of the four important books of 
the K'ung school, there is little disagreement. 7 There is a 
suspicion, however, that some of its passages, especially 
those in the second half, might be interpolations by a fol- 
lower of his school. Like The Great Learning , the book begins 
with a chapter stating the general theme, supposedly 
handed down by Master K'ung. It reads : 'To have no emo- 
tions of pleasure and anger, sorrow and joy, surging up, is 
to be described as being in a state of equilibrium. To have 
these emotions surging up, but all in due time, is to be de- 
scribed as being in a state of harmony. This state of equi- 
librium is the supreme foundation of the great universe, and 
this state of harmony, its universal path. Once equilibrium 



and harmony are achieved, Heaven and Earth maintain 
their proper positions, and the myriad things are nourished.' 8 

The quest for equilibrium and harmony, or the 'mean-in- 
action', is therefore the main purport of this book. But, in- 
stead of developing the subject in a systematic way with 
words of his own, Tzu-ssu was satisfied with invoking sanc- 
tions from his grandfather. In this way the Doctrine of the 
Mean is not much different from the Analects as a collection 
of the Master's sayings. But Tzu-ssu's innovation lay in the 
numerous explanatory passages he inserted after or in be- 
tween his quotations from Master K'ung. These comments 
became eloquent towards the end of the work when he dis- 
courses brilliantly on reality (cheng) in Heaven and realness 
(cheng) in Man. 'It is the way of Heaven to be the real. It is 
the way of man to attain the real. To be real is to hit the 
mean without effort, to possess it without the exercise of 
thought, and to be centred in the way with a natural ease - 
this is to be a sage. To attain the real is to choose the good 
and hold fast to it. This involves a thorough study of what is 
good, inquiring extensively about it, cogitating over it care- 
fully, making it clear through contrast, and earnestly put- 
ting it into practice.' 9 

In particular, the book stresses 'human realness in action.' 
with its capacity to transform and to give full development 
to man's nature. This realness to oneself also transcends the 
material end and is linked to the great virtue of Heaven. 'It 
is only the individual possessed of supreme realness who can 
make the warp and woof of the great fabric of society, who 
can establish the great foundation of the world, and who can 
understand the transforming and nurturing processes of 
Heaven and Earth. Can there be anything beyond himself 
on which he depends? His human-heartedness, how per- 
vading! His depth, how unfathomable! His heavenliness, 
how overwhelming! Who is there who can comprehend 
this unless he possess superior intelligence and sagely wis- 
dom, unless he reach out to the spiritual power of 
Heaven!' 10 

In many respects Tzu-ssu seems to be more of a philoso- 



pher than his sage grandfather. It is obvious that in these 
passages he was searching for a true way for the individual, 
and found it in man's realness to himself as well as in the 
'doctrine of the mean'. The path, moreover, was the same 
for the little fellow as for the princely man. The latter, so 
his grandfather believed, acted according to the course of 
the mean, to which he consistently held fast; whereas the 
former acted contrary to it because he had no sense of moral 
caution. But to Tzu-ssu the distinction between the two was 
not so absolute. 'The way of the princely man,' he asserted, 
'is widely apparent and yet hidden. Thus the ordinary man 
and woman, ignorant though they are, can have some ink- 
ling of it ; but, in its perfection, even a sage finds something 
there which he does not comprehend. The ordinary man 
and woman, however much below the standard of virtue, 
can still walk in its path; but in its consummation, even a 
sage finds something there which he cannot put into prac- 
tice. . . . Such is the way of the princely man: its simple be- 
ginning is to be found in the intercourse of the common folk, 
but in its ultimate reaches it may be examined only in the 
light of Heaven and Earth.' n 

To conclude, we can easily see that, just as Master K'ung 
had paved the way for a system of ethics for peasants and 
nobles alike, so had Tzii-ssu, his worthy successor, found a 
universal and inexhaustible way for all men. This was the 
path of centrality, which the common people could attempt 
to follow, but which even nobles and scholars could hardly 
attain in its final stage. And if Master K'ung had created the 
ethical man, so had Tzu-ssu discovered to himself, while 
elaborating on his grandfather's ideas, 'the reasoning, meta- 
physically-minded individual'. 

With the appearance of the Analects, The Great Learning, 
and the Doctrine of the Mean, the evolution of the Ju philo- 
sophy was well on its way. The great tao of Master K'ung 
was being transmitted and enlarged. It was only a matter of 
time before it was made the orthodox doctrine of the 
Chinese people. But before this was accomplished, the fol- 
lowers of the K'ung school had to fight their way to 



supremacy against the increasing opposition of the rival phi- 
losophers who had risen in the wake of Master K'ung. It is 
to these unorthodox teachers that we shall now turn in the 
next chapter. 


Chapter Three 


i . The Period of the Warring States 

INSTEAD of progressing towards the ideals of a Great Com- 
monwealth as conceived by the K'ung scholars, the Chinese 
kingdom further degenerated in the days of Tseng Ts'an and 
Tzu-ssu. The Chou sovereign remained on the throne, but 
his authority was disregarded and his prerogative as the Son 
of Heaven was confined to religious matters alone. In conse- 
quence, even his nominal kingship was challenged by the 
feudal lords of the great states. In the course of time these 
rulers assumed one after another the presumptuous title of 
king, thus making themselves equals of the Chou sovereign 
not only in fact but also in name. What a severe blow it 
would have been to Master K'ung, the feudal torch-bearer, 
had he lived on to these unruly times ! 

The period after Master K'ung is known in history as that 
of the Warring States. An appropriate name, it speaks elo- 
quently of the turbulent conditions of the age. As a result of 
the continuous wars the political situation in China was 
greatly changed, and seven big states now emerged to over- 
run practically the whole country. These were Ch'i in the 
east, Ch'u in the south, Ch'in in the north-west, Yen, a new 
power, in the north-east, and Han, Wei, and Chao, off- 
spring of the mighty Tsin, in the north. At the same time, 
those small principalities that had flourished in Master 
K'ung's time had been either eliminated from the scene or 
squeezed between their strong neighbours with barely any 
space for a lingering existence. The entire history of the 
period was therefore one of endless struggle for supremacy 
among the great powers. 

In an age where might was right, the rulers of these con- 
tending states all strove to build up a powerful army for the 



pursuit of their selfish ends. Their desire for conquest was 
insatiable; their ambitions were overwhelming. Wars, 
moreover, were no longer governed by a feudal code of 
honour as in the olden days, but fought to a finish in the 
most devastating manner possible with a great deal of blood- 
shed. Lands were annexed and subjects enslaved, while 
enemy soldiers were massacred by the thousands. On the 
debris of fallen cities and the mounds of the dead there rose 
to eminence and power intriguing politicians, ruthless gene- 
rals, and autocratic rulers, who all wallowed in wealth at 
the expense of the common people. 

With increasing riches and power, the kings of the War- 
ring States indulged themselves to such an extent that their 
lusts and dissipations belittled even the licentious excesses of 
the earlier days. In almost every state the rulers lived in 
great pomp. They wore gorgeous garments ornamented 
with pearls and jade; owned carved boats and embroidered 
carriages; lived in magnificent palaces with porches and 
pavilions. They also indulged in feasting and carousing. The 
lord of a large state was served with a hundred courses, so 
much so that 'eyes could not see all the dishes, hands could 
not handle them all, and the mouth could not taste them 
all.' l Even the minister of a small principality like Wey, ac- 
cording to a contemporary witness, had in his house hun- 
dreds of decorated vehicles, hundreds of horses fed with 
grain, and several hundred concubines clothed in finery. 
From these stories the extravagance of a great king can be 
well imagined. 

The above picture affords a striking contrast to the sad 
plight of the peasants, who were weighed down by the triple 
burdens of war, taxation, and conscription. Their miseries 
were graphically described by Meng K'o, who, speaking of 
his time, asserted that while there was fat meat in the lord's 
kitchen and there were fat horses in the lord's stable the people 
were a picture of hunger and privation. Meng K'o further 
stated that in times of plenty immense stores of provisions 
were consumed by armies engaged in war, while in calamitous 
years the old and feeble died by the thousands in valleys and 



ditches, and the able-bodied were scattered about to the 
four quarters of the globe. Such disorganization of the rural 
community constituted a serious threat to the very fabric of 
feudal society. Under these circumstances insecurity bred 
discontent, which in turn brought disorder; and in their 
wake came the final dissolution of the battered Ghou 

2. The Battle of Minds 

ANOTHER disruptive force that hastened the process of de- 
terioration came from the intellectuals who threatened to 
supplant the orthodoxy of the K'ung school with their new 
heterogeneous teachings. This was an age of great mental 
activity, in which all kinds of original ideas spread unchecked. 
The Chinese mind, hitherto long confined to tradition, 
seemed suddenly to burst forth from its trammels and riot 
in its new freedom. Thus, with his inhibitions gone, man 
was free to look at life anew from any angle he chose and to 
draw whatever conclusion he liked. With renewed zeal and 
curiosity he began to explore all the highways and byways 
of thought. 

During the long Chou dynasty the individual Chinese 
had gradually corne of age. Then as he matured his men- 
tality began to unfold and expand. But at the same time 
life became more complicated. Finding himself in the midst 
of a great upheaval, he was more than ever puzzled by the 
myriad questions confronting him. These he was determined 
to solve. In fact, the more chaotic the conditions were 
around him, the more alert he became and the more recep- 
tive he was to those new outlandish ideas that were in the 
air. These in turn sharpened his wits and stimulated his in- 
tellect until he too grew restive with thought. In this way the 
greatest intellectual movement ever known in China came 

Ironically enough, Master K'ung, who would have been 
the last to give sanction to these unorthodox ideas, himself 
had contributed unwittingly to their development. As we 
know, it was he who had first taken the Chou classics from 



official custody and presented them to the public; it was he 
who had disseminated learning among a wide circle of ad- 
herents; and it was also he who had set an example to 
scholars to propagate their teachings on their travels. In 
other words, it was under Master K'ung's tutelage that the 
Chinese had begun the study of their ancient culture and 
grown enthusiastic over it, thereby opening the way for the 
spectacular rise of the so-called 'hundred schools' of phi- 

Generally speaking, all schools of Chinese thought sprang 
from the main Chou trunk. But they branched out, as was 
natural, in different directions, and often became so trans- 
formed through grafting that they were hardly recognizable 
as offspring of the mother stock. At times the Chou thinkers 
also professed to have drawn their sustenance from the 
earlier Shang and Hsia dynasties as well as from mythical 
times, in which the sage kings of antiquity had reigned. But 
whatever the origin of their philosophies, it was in the Chou 
soil that they were rooted, by the Chou genius that they 
were nourished, and in the light of the Chou intelligence 
that they were brought to fruition. 

If the teachings of Master K'ung represented the main 
bulk of Chou culture, as we have shown, then the others 
were mostly offshoots that had grown from the grafted limbs. 
In fact, so luxuriant and strong were these new shoots that 
they had almost overshadowed the trunk itself. The story 
of how these new schools of philosophy combined in their 
effort to undermine the orthodox system of the K'ung 
school, and how they strove with each other for supremacy 
in this most flourishing period of Chinese thought, is as in- 
triguing as any ideological warfare of the present century. 

3. The Triumph of the Female 

AMONG the unorthodox schools the greatest was the Taoist, 
founded reputedly by Lao-tan, the Old Big-Ear, also known 
as Lao-tzu, the Old Master. An elder contemporary of 
K'ung Ch'iu, Lao-tan was, according to tradition, keeper of 



the imperial archives in the royal capital at Lo and, conse- 
quently, one of the most learned men of his time. As the 
reader will remember, it was to Lao- tan that K'ung Ch'iu 
went to inquire about the rites and received instead a lesson 
on humility and simple living. Tradition further stated that 
the same Lao-tan, alter having retired from office, travelled 
west from the Ghou capital to an unknown destination. 
While on his way, so it was said, he was kept at a frontier 
pass by the warden with a request that he commit his 
teachings to writing. This Lao-tan did in a book of 5,000 
words known to posterity as Tao Teh Ching, or the Classic of 
Tao, one of the profoundest books in the world's philosophy. 

The above story, however, is of dubious origin and a 
great deal of controversy has been raised over the author- 
ship and date of this remarkable book. Suffice it to say that, 
while we believe in the existence of such an historical figure 
as Lao- tan and in his meeting with K'ung Ch'iu at Lo, we 
are, on the other hand, rather sceptical about his author- 
ship of the 5,ooo-word book, which, judged from both its 
content and style, must have been a later work, most 
likely a product of the era of the Warring States. Neverthe- 
less it must be admitted that the Classic of Tao, whatever its 
authorship, is by all standards the most comprehensive 
treatise we have on Taoist philosophy, poignant with 
thought and rich in imagination. Moreover, the frequent 
rhymes and the epigrammatic style make it almost a poetic 
piece and, as such, unique among the philosophical writings 
of the period. 

In our opinion, whereas Lao-tan, in his capacity as an 
imperial librarian, was in all probability a northerner, per- 
haps a native of the royal domain or one of its neighbouring 
states, the author of the Classic of Tao was more likely a 
southerner from the big Yangtze state of Ch'u, whence 
came most of the Taoist teachers. 2 For this reason, the 
Taoist concepts expressed in it were also diametrically op- 
posed to the K'ung tenets, which were fundamentally those 
of the northern people on the great plains of the Yellow 
River. Ever since then the two streams of Chinese thought - 



the first visionary and care-free, and the second vigorous 
and aggressive - have been running counter to each other 
for centuries; and so they remain to this day. 

As we have already pointed out, while K'ung Ch'iu was 
this-worldly in his outlook, Lao-tzu, author of the Classic of 
Tao to be distinguished hereafter from Lao-tan, the Ghou 
librarian - taught a philosophy that is essentially natural- 
istic and anti-social. For some reason, the south in those 
days was the centre of recluses and naturalists, some of 
whom had crossed Master K'ung's path in the course of his 
travels. Reacting differently to the disorders of the age, they 
spurned as futile all K'ung Ch'iu's attempts at political re- 
form as well as his pleas ibr a return to the ceremony and 
culture of the early Chou period. They were, in the words of 
one of their group, fellows who withdrew altogether from 
the world of men, regarding nature as their great retreat, 
simple living their ideal of life, farming their profession - if 
they ever had any - and wu-wei (inaction or non-inter- 
ference) the essence of their creed. 

This Taoist doctrine of wu-wci is essentially the theory of 
'letting alone'. As a philosophy of life it means that one 
should keep within the limit of one's nature and let one's 
bodily functions take care of themselves. The same theory, 
when applied to politics, made the Taoists the first advo- 
cates of a laissez-faire policy. Asserting that the best way to 
govern is not to govern at all, Lao-tzu gave the following 
famous advice to his readers: 'Rule a big country as you 
would fry a small fish.' 3 The meaning of this cryptic sentence, 
though enigmatic at first sight, is not hard to explain. To fry 
a small fish, we know, needs little time and skill. And to rule 
a big country would be just as easy and simple if the ruler 
would only let his people alone, so that they could live 
peacefully and happily together without being bothered 
with government. Therefore, the sage said : 'I do nothing, and 
the people are reformed of themselves; I love quietude and 
the people are righteous of themselves; I deal in no business 
and the people grow rich by themselves; I have no desires 
and the people are simple and honest by themselves.' 4 


In the Classic of Too, Lao-tzu not only taught the virtue 
of non-action, but he also extolled the utility of non-being. 
Taking as illustrations the hollowness of a clay vessel, the 
holes of a wheel, and the interior of a house, in all of which 
utility comes from emptiness, he stated the thesis that 'by 
the existence of things we profit, and by the non-existence 
of things we are served.' 5 The same can be said of the bel- 
lows, which, though hollow, never bends, and which, 'the 
more it is worked, the more it brings forth.' 6 For the same 
reason, Lao-tzu exalted the 'Spirit of the Valley' - its hollow- 
ness, like the bellows, is symbolic of the Taoist Void'. The 
valley, therefore, was called 'the Mystic Female', 7 which 
was the name he gave to a great principle of life, for, be- 
sides being the 'mother of all things', the Female also con- 
quers by being soft and weak, humble and low. Just as 
weakness overcomes strength, and softness hardness - there 
is nothing weaker than water, yet none can surpass it in 
penetrating the hard - so the Female conquers the Male by 
remaining passive in a lowly position. The lowly or the meek, 
of course, is again a typical Taoist ideal, since to be low is 
to be nearer the Tao, and to yield is to be preserved whole. 

With ideas like these, it is obvious that the Taoists would 
oppose all human institutions as detrimental to the free dis- 
play of man's true self. So, instead of teaching such artificial 
virtues as human-heartedness and righteousness, to which 
Lao-tzu attributed the cause of man's degeneration, he ad- 
vocated the virtues of humility and quietude. He also as- 
serted the necessity of reverting to a state of pristine 
simplicity, in which man's original nature was untarnished 
by worldly contacts and unfettered by human rules. Thus, 
rejecting all learning and ceremonies as artificial, and hence 
harmful, Lao-tzu ridiculed the man of li as one who, 'find- 
ing no response to his teaching, would roll up his sleeves to 
force it on others.' 8 The man of li here, of course, strongly 
reminds us of K'ung Ch'iu's more dogmatic disciples. 

Likewise, in Lao-tzu's opinion, works of art and culture, 
and, in fact, all treasures that 'keep their owners awake at 
night', 9 should be destroyed so as to rid man's heart of the 



desire for possession, than which there could be no greater 
evil. Lastly, even wisdom and knowledge came under at- 
tack. These too should be abandoned along with all the 
artificial virtues, so that people could be profited a hundred- 
fold. In this connexion it is interesting to note the distinction 
Lao-tzu made between knowledge and Tao. He wrote: 

By pursuing knowledge, one gains day by day; 

Through pursuing Tao, one loses day by day. 

By continual losing, one attains inaction ; 

By doing nothing, everything is done. 

He who conquers the world, often does so by doing nothing. 

When one is compelled to do something, 

The world is already beyond his conquering. 10 

From this brief description we can easily see that, though 
using the same word f lao\ Lao-tzu and K'ung Ch'iu differed 
widely in its interpretation. Whereas Master K'ung's tao is 
ethical in sense and deals with the way of life, the Tao of the 
Taoists is essentially metaphysical and can be taken as an 
all-embracing first principle for the myriad things, each of 
which has its own individual property known as Teh. To be 
more specific, the Tao in Lao-tzu's book is the invariable 
law underlying the changing phenomena of the universe. 
That is why it is eternal, all pervading, inexhaustible in its 
use, and fathomless like the fountain-head of all things ; that 
is why Tao, which follows the way of nature, is itself followed 
by Heaven, Earth, and Man; that is also why 

Out of Tao, One is born ; 

Out of One, Two; 

Out of Two, Three; 

Out of Three, the myriad things. 

The myriad things bear the Male, and embrace the Female, 

And attain harmony through the union of immaterial breaths. 11 

4. An All-embracing Love 

COMPARED with the naturalistic and mysterious tenets of 
Lao-tzu, the doctrines of Mo Ti, founder of another great 
school of Chinese philosophy, appear especially prosaic and 



earthy. Mo Ti's life, like that of Lao- tan, was completely 
wrapped in obscurity. In this case we are not even sure about 
his name, for according to one theory 12 the word 'Mo 5 did 
not refer to the philosopher's family, but his social standing, 
which was that of a criminal ! 13 Likewise, the word 'Ti' 
might mean a pheasant's feather, with which the 'criminal- 
philosopher 5 decked himself in the manner of the country- 
folk. 14 It is, of course, difficult to determine at this distant 
date the accuracy of such claim. Actually, of only one thing 
we are certain - and that is that Mo Ti came from a low 
stratum of society. This is an important fact which we must 
bear in mind if we want to understand the many peculiar 
traits of Mo Ti's thought. 

Nor are we any better informed about the date and place 
of Mo Ti's birth. 15 From all available sources we gather that 
he was a contemporary of Tzu-ssu and flourished in ihe 
fifth century B.C. We also know that for a short time Mo Ti 
held a minor official position in Sung, and that he had 
travelled extensively in Gh'i and Lu in the east, and Ch'u 
in the south, where he probably died. 

An early authority states that Mo Ti first went to school 
in the tenets of K'ung, but, disappointed, founded a school 
of his own. This is possible, for though the fundamental 
teachings of Ju and Mo were widely different, they both 
drew their inspiration from the same source, namely, the 
sage-kings of antiquity. But in this respect Mo Ti went even 
further back than K'ung Ch'iu, as his particular idol was the 
Great Yii, legendary founder of the Hsia dynasty. Popularly 
known to the West as the Chinese Noah, Yii was certainly a 
greater man than the famed Hebrew, for, instead of riding 
the deluge like Noah, he had actually stalled it. By saving 
the vast plains of the Middle Kingdom from the floods that 
had been devastating the country for decades, Yii had done 
a tremendous service to the Chinese people. Besides being 
their saviour, he was also noted for his self-sacrifice and de- 
votion to duty. While he was combating the flood he was 
said to have suffered endless hardship and privation. We are 
also told that Yii * bathed in the rain, combed his hair with 



the wind, and rubbed his body smooth in the toils and priva- 
tions of his travelling.' 16 

The spirit of the legendary Yti was exactly the spirit of Mo 
Ti, who, coming from the lower depth of society, taught a 
philosophy of life typical of his class, and hence diametric- 
ally opposed to the aristocratic leanings of both K'ung 
Gh'iu and Lao-tzu. In fact, Mo Ti not only preached but 
also lived a life of rigid discipline and self-mortilication. For 
the good of his fellow-men, he and his disciples, all clad in 
coarse garments and straw sandals, would toil day and 
night without ceasing. 'If we do not do this, 1 said his dis- 
ciples, 'we are not practising the tao of Yii, and hence are 
unworthy to be the followers of Mo.' 17 It was for this spirit 
of self-sacrifice that Mo Ti is known to posterity as one who 
would willingly wear his body smooth from head to foot for 
the sake of humanity. 

As a member of the under-privileged class, Mo Ti had 
no love for such aristocratic arts as dancing, music, em- 
broidery, or the other refinements of life. His plebeian in- 
stinct rebelled against the extravagances of the nobility in 
their weddings, funerals, and the three years' mourning, 
and, in fact, all the elaborate feudal rites so dear to Master 
K'ung. Indeed, to our proletarian philosopher such things 
were pure waste of time and wealth and detrimental to the 
economy of the people, who had to pay with their blood and 
sweat for all these costly performances of the aristocracy. 
Attacking the lavish burials of his time, Mo Ti wrote: 'Even 
when an ordinary person dies, the expenses of the funeral 
are such as to reduce the family almost to beggary. But 
when a ruler dies, by the time enough gold and jade, pearls 
and precious stones have been found to lay by the body, 
wrappings of fine stuff to bind round it, chariots and horses 
to inter with it, and an immense quantity of tripods and 
drums, jars and bowls, halberds, swords, screens, banners, 
and objects in ivory and leather to bury in the tomb, the 
treasuries of the state would be completely exhausted.' 18 

The impoverishment of the country, in Mo Ti's opinion, 
was one of the greatest evils that brought not only misery 



upon the people but also a curse from Heaven. To Mo Ti, 
who came from the heart of the people, Heaven was the 
supreme divine being, whose influence on men was tremen- 
dous and whose awesome majesty should be feared and 
obeyed. 'What the Heavenly Mind affirms,' Mo Ti asserted, 
' is right, and what he denies is wrong.' 19 He believed that 
even the tip of a hair was the work of Heaven. Omniscient 
and omnipotent, the great Deity saw clearly what was going 
on everywhere in the world, good deeds as well as bad; and 
meted out his rewards and punishments accordingly. 

The teachings of Mo Ti, which originated from the 
people, were also intended for them. And to this vast ignor- 
ant class what more powerful appeal could there be than 
that of a ruling Providence, who watched. eternally over hu- 
man affairs ? This religious appeal, however, did not make 
Mo Ti a fanatic, or the leader of a new religious movement, 
as has often been claimed. On the contrary, what he actually 
did was to revive the ancient Chinese religion, now in 
danger of being discarded by such intellectual sceptics as 
Lao-tzu and K'ung Ch'iu. To counteract their influence, Mo 
Ti advocated a renewed Sinitic faith among his followers. 
He also succeeded, as none had done before him, in using 
religion as a motivating force for his doctrine, which, like that 
of Master K'ung, is essentially human and this- worldly. 

The central core of Mo Ti's philosophy is love. It is a 
supreme virtue broader in its scope and application than the 
'human-heartedness' of Master K'ung. According to the 
latter, since human relationships were not the same, so 
different too should be one's feelings towards different 
people. The love for one's brother, for instance, should 
differ from that for one's father, just as one's love for one's 
father could not be the same as that for a neighbour's father. 
But Mo Ti, who came from the masses, had in mind the 
simpler and more primitive virtue of the countryfolk, and so 
he announced that love should be equal and alike for every- 
body. This universal love, he further contended, was in fact 
the only panacea for the strife-torn world of his time. If 
everybody would love everybody else as he loved himself, so 


Mo Ti argued, there would be an end to all the contentions 
and troubles in society. This was indeed a grand ideal, 
which Mo Ti advocated heartily and persuasively with all 
the weapons of logic at his disposal. 

To a man of love like Mo Ti, the greatest foe was hatred, 
which culminated in killing. In this connexion, what could 
be worse than the large-scale massacre of mankind known as 
war ? Though Chinese philosophers all condemned war, Mo 
Ti was especially emphatic and vehement in its denuncia- 
tion. As a matter of fact, he not only preached against war, 
but went a step further by putting his words into action. 
Thus Mo Ti organized his followers into a strictly disci- 
plined militant band, whose aim it was to stop aggressive 
war and to die, if necessary, in defence of its victims. One 
story has it that Mo Ti, hearing that the great state of Gh'u 
was about to attack Sung, walked ten days and nights to 
Ch'u to dissuade its king from his warlike purpose. At the 
same time, for fear that he might fail in his peace mission, 
Mo Ti posted 300 of his veteran disciples, armed with im- 
plements of defence he had devised, on the city walls of 
Sung to await the invading army. Such precaution, fortun- 
ately, proved unnecessary. 

Both the militant and ascetic traditions of the Mo school 
continued for centuries to the end of the Chou dynasty. 
During his lifetime Mo Ti had followers who would wil- 
lingly have sacrificed themselves for the good of humanity. 
The same spirit and discipline was maintained after his 
death under the leadership of a Grand Master, elected from 
among the faithful. In this way the Mo school also flourished 
during the period of the Warring States as a popular mili- 
tary organization, and though it never broke out openly 
into revolution it must have been by its nature a disruptive 
force in the aristocratic Chou society. But what provoked 
the K'ung scholars most was the unorthodox teaching of the 
Mo school rather than its underground activity. As a result 
of this feeling, the battle between the two camps was par- 
ticularly violent. Not content with hurling arguments and 
ideological abuse at each other, the combatants, it seemed, 



engaged in a duel of name-calling. Thus, while the Mohists 
branded the men of ceremony as Ju, or 'weaklings', the 
latter, in retaliation, stigmatized their swashbuckling foes 
as Mo, the 'criminals'. But, whereas the followers of K'ung 
were slow in taking to themselves the uncomplimentary epi- 
thet, the Mohists accepted their nickname without any 
grudge. Indeed, were they not justly proud of their Master, 
who, though coming from the downtrodden masses, had 
risen to be their spokesman and prophet, and, we would 
like to add, the greatest teacher of a great folk philosophy ? 

5. The Happiness of being Non-moral 

ANOTHER philosopher of the period, often mentioned to- 
gether with Mo Ti, was Yang Chu, an apostle of egoism. 
Though the two had long been linked together by their 
common enemy, the K'ung scholars, this should not blind 
us to the fact that their tenets were fundamentally different, 
for Yang Chu taught, contrary to Mo Ti's all-embracing 
love, a doctrine of self-love and sensual enjoyment. In these 
philosophical assertions Yang Ghu seemed to be alone. But, 
if he could be assigned to any school, it would be to the 
Taoist, on the ground that they both had non-moral con- 
ceptions of life and a fatalistic belief in death, which pro- 
vided a good excuse for indulgence in this world. There is a 
story of Yang Chu's meeting with Lao-tzu, 20 which also 
helps to establish his relationship with the Taoist founder, 
but which, on the other hand, being an anecdote, does not 
prove that they were contemporaries. On the contrary, 
modern critics are inclined to believe that Yang Chu 
probably flourished in the fourth century B.C. in the north- 
ern state of Wei during the reign of its king Hui (370-319 
B.C.). Like his fellow-philosophers, he made frequent lecture 
trips to other states, where his teaching gained great vogue 
among the people. 

These scanty facts are all that we know about this inter- 
esting exponent of Chinese Epicureanism. Likewise, all that 
remains of his philosophy is a mere chapter in the Taoist 


book Lieh-tzu. Here again it is highly doubtful, even if we 
accept the portion as authentic, whether it represents a 
complete digest of Yang Ghu's teaching. The best we can 
do, therefore, is to glean whatever material we can find in 
it and present it as illustrative of one phase of ancient 
Chinese philosophy. 

To state it briefly, Yang Ghu's fundamental contention is 
that, since our life in this world is short, a large part of it 
being spent in babyhood, senility, and the long hours of 
sleep, we must make the most of it. Moreover, Yang Ghu 
maintained that fame and praise were ephemeral and that 
the only things that made life worth living were sensual 
gratifications, such as the pleasures of food and dress and 
the enjoyment of music and beauty. These were what actu- 
ally gave zest to life. 'Let us eat and drink/ so Yang Ghu 
would have advised, 'let us live in pleasure; gratify the ears 
and eyes; acquire servants and maidens; enjoy music and 
wine. And if the day is insufficient, let us carry our pleasure 
on through the night.' 21 

To expound his attitude towards life further, Yang Chu 
told a story of two happy voluptuaries, brothers of Tzu- 
ch ; an, a famous minister of Cheng, 22 here introduced as a 
self-righteous official of the K'ung school. His two brothers, 
however, were entirely different from him. The elder, a jolly 
Bacchanalian, had in his house 'a thousand barrels of wine 
and hillocks of yeast, so that strong smells of liquor greeted 
the passers-by within a hundred paces from the door' : while 
the younger, a debauchee, filled each of the thirty or forty 
apartments of his compound with a girl of exquisite beauty, 
with whom he revelled day and night. Naturally, the self- 
righteous Tzu-ch'an was worried and at last got up enough 
courage to remonstrate with them. But the brothers received 
him coldly and, instead of listening to him, gave him a piece 
of their mind : 

You value propriety and righteousness in order to excel before 
others, and you do violence to your nature in striving for glory. 
That to us appears to be worse than death. Our only fear is that, 



wishing to enjoy fully the beauties of this life, and to exhaust all 
the pleasures of the present, we should be prevented by the reple- 
tion of the belly from drinking what our palate delights in, and by 
the slackening of our strength from revelling with the pretty girls. 
We have no time to trouble about bad reputations or mortal 
dangers. Therefore for you to argue with us and to disturb our 
minds merely because you surpass others in your ability to govern, 
and to allure us with promises of glory and appointment, is indeed 
shameful and deplorable. 23 

Obviously, this kind of teaching was like a slap in the face to 
the K'ung scholars, but what especially pricked them was 
the disparaging way in which Yang Chu spoke of K'ung 
Ch'iu as well as the sage rulers of antiquity like Shun, Yd, 
and the Duke of Chou, These four, so Yang Chu charged, 
were fools who literally worked themselves to death merely 
for the sake of a good name - and what is a good name, he 
asked, but a posthumous bauble which no one can enjoy? 
Virtue too, of which they boasted, is but a deception, en- 
tirely external, superfluous, and fruitless. So Yang Chu fol- 
lowed the Taoist idea by asserting that we should revert to 
a state of primitive simplicity; but he went beyond Taoism 
when he maintained that, instead of restraining ourselves 
because of moral considerations, we should give the freest 
rein to our nature and gratify it to the fullest. A degenerate 
noble who lived a leisurely life in the garden of pleasure, 
Yang Chu taught a philosophy of decadence in sharp con- 
trast to Mo Ti's asceticism and K'ung Ch'iu's moral en- 
deavour. It is no wonder that they could not get along to- 
gether. So we find that the followers of K'ung were as 
vociferous in their denunciation of Yang Chu as they were 
of Mo Ti. 

6. The Dream of a Butterfly 

IF Yang Chu was a decadent, then Chuang Chou, Taoist 
philosopher of the fourth century B.C., might be called a ro- 
mantic mystic. Probably the most illustrious of his school, 
Chuang Chou was also the most brilliant. Endowed with 
great wit and imagination, Chuang Chou was fond of illus- 



trating his discourses with beautiful allegories and lively 
anecdotes that have made him immortal. For this reason, 
though we know very little about his life, we seem to be 
better acquainted with him than with the others ; we are also 
attracted by his winning personality that pervades every 
page of his writing. 

A great story-teller, Ghuang Chou himself became the 
centre of a number of fascinating tales that add greatly to 
the romantic glamour of his life. According to one story, 
Ghuang Chou was fishing in the River P'u when two mes- 
sengers came from the King of Ch'u to offer him the pre- 
miership of the state. But Ghuang Ghou declined, saying 
that he much preferred to be a live tortoise that draggled its 
tail in the mud than a dead one kept in a golden casket in 
the king's ancestral shrine. 'Begone!' cried Ghuang Ghou to 
the king's officers, C I, too, will wag my tail in the mud.' 24 

The best story about Chuang Ghou came from Chuang 
Chou himself. 'Once upon a time,' he wrote, 'I, Ghuang 
Chou, dreamt that I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and 
thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was con- 
scious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I 
was Chuang Chou. Suddenly I awaked, and there I was, 
virtually myself again. Now I do not know whether I was 
then a man, dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am 
now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.' 2& 

Concerning dreams, Ghuang Ghou had much to say. He 
wrote: 'It is said that those who dream of a banquet at night 
may the next morning wail and weep. Those who dream of 
wailing and weeping may in the morning go out to hunt. 
But while a man is dreaming, he does not know that he is 
dreaming; nor can he interpret a dream until the dream is 
done. It is only when he is awake that he knows it was a 
dream. By and by comes the Great Awakening, and then we 
shall find out that life after all was one great dream.' 26 

If life itself is as ephemeral as a dream, so also is death. In 
fact, when we look at it closely, we shall see with Chuang 
Ghou that both life and death are merely part of the great 
process of evolution like the change of day and night, and 



the succession of spring and autumn. 'When we come into 
the world/ wrote Chuang Chou, c it is because we have the 
occasion to be born; when we go, we simply follow what is 
natural.' 27 So death is no occasion for sorrow as life is no 
cause for joy. Bearing this principle in mind, Chuang Chou 
refrained from wailing at his wife's death ; instead, he sat on 
the ground, singing and beating time on a bowl. And when 
he himself was about to die he refused a splendid funeral by 
his disciples, saying, 'With heaven and earth for my coffin, 
with the sun, moon, and stars as my regalia, and with all the 
creation to escort me to the grave - are not my funeral para- 
phernalia complete?' 28 Then in answer to his students' pro- 
test that his corpse, if unburicd, might fall prey to carrion 
birds, he observed wistfully, 'Above ground I shall be food 
for kites; below, I shall be food for ants and crickets. Why 
rob the one to feed the other?' 29 

This reminds us of the story of Chuang Chou and the 
skull. One day, so the story goes, while travelling south of 
Ch e u, Chuang Chou saw by the roadside an empty skull. 
Striking it with his riding whip, he addressed it thus, 'Wert 
thou once some ambitious fellow whose inordinate desires 
brought him to this pass? - some politician who plunged his 
state in ruin and perished by the axe and halberd ? - some 
wretch who left behind him a blot on the family name? 
some beggar who died in the pangs of hunger and cold ? Or 
didst thou reach this state by the natural course of old age ?' 
Then he picked up the skull and, placing it under his head 
as a pillow, went to sleep. At midnight the skull appeared to 
him in a dream, and a conversation soon ensued, in which 
the skull told Chuang Chou of the happiness of the dead. 
Chuang Chou, however, was unconvinced. He wanted to 
know whether the skull would wish to be restored to life so 
that he could revisit his home and the friends of his youth. 
At this the skull opened its eyes wide and knitted its brows, 
saying, 'Why should I cast aside happiness greater than that 
of a king to participate once again in the toils and troubles 
of mortality?' 30 

According to Chuang Chou, the reason why mankind got 



into trouble was that, instead of following the true path of 
Tao, marked by repose, tranquillity, stillness, and inaction, 
and adapting himself to the natural conditions of existence, 
man had fettered himself with ceremonial kudos, moral re- 
straints, social obligations, and in fact all the artificialities of 
civilization. Moreover, not content with meddling with his 
own nature, man had also imposed on others what he con- 
sidered right and good for himself. So lie put a halter around 
a horse's neck and a string through an ox's nose; he even 
attempted to lengthen the duck's legs and shorten the crane's 
to make them uniform. He was also like the Lu prince of the 
fable, who killed a straying sea-bird with wine, meat, and 
temple music. The tragedy, of course, was due to the prince's 
misunderstanding of the true nature of the bird, which he 
foolishly treated like himself and not as a bird should be 
treated, which would much prefer 'to roost in a deep forest, 
to wander over a plain, to swim in a river or lake, to feed 
upon fish, to fly, and to settle leisurely.' 'When the bird was 
already terrified at human voices,' observed Chuang Ghou, 
'fancy adding all that music !' 31 

Chuang Chou's advice, therefore, was that in order to 
achieve real happiness man should aim at the free develop- 
ment of his nature without encumbering it with knowledge 
and wisdom. 'Cherish that which is within you, and shut oil' 
that which is without; for much knowledge is a curse.' 32 
Furthermore, the essence of Tao is to see nothing, hear 
nothing, and do nothing. 'Let there be absolute repose and 
absolute purity; do not weary your body, nor disturb your 
vitality - and you will live for ever. For if the eye sees 
nothing, and the ear hears nothing, and the mind thinks 
nothing, then the soul will preserve the body, and the body 
will live for ever.' 33 

The restoration of the soul by doing nothing is shown in 
the following allegory of the Yellow Emperor and his pearl. 
The Emperor, so Chuang Chou tells us, had once travelled 
north to the Red Lake and ascended the K'un-lun Moun- 
tains. Returning home from the trip, he lost his magic 
pearl. He employed Intelligence to find it, but without sue- 



cess; he employed Sight to find it, but without success; he 
employed Speech to find it, but without success. Finally he 
employed Nothing, and Nothing found it. 'Strange indeed/ 
said the Emperor, 'that Nothing should have been able to 
findit!' S4 

From what we have related above it is obvious that 
Chuang Chou could not take kindly to the teachings of the 
K'ung school. To this apostle of nothingness Master K'ung 
appeared especially like a busybody in his attempt at moral 
and social reforms. Chuang Chou was therefore scathing in 
his attacks on K'ung Ch'iu, which were as numerous as they 
were clever. Sometimes he would circulate apocryphal 
stories, in which the head of the Ju school would be repre- 
sented as a Taoist convert, speaking the Taoist language. At 
other times Master K'ung was shown in his true colours, 
only to be rebuffed by the Taoisls. Once he was said to have 
visited Lao-tan with the intention of securing the latter's 
recommendation to the royal house of Chou, to which he 
wanted to present copies of his work. But Lao-tan received 
the project coldly, whereupon Master K'ung unrolled a 
dozen treatises or so and began to expound them until Lao- 
tan grew impatient. 'This is enough,' he interrupted, 'tell 
me briefly the gist of it. 5 36 'It is about human-heartedness 
and righteousness, 5 3G replied Master K'ung undaunted. 
And again the loquacious pedant was about to fall into a 
lengthy discourse when he was sent away by Lao-tan with 
the . injunction that he had better learn 'how it is that 
Heaven and Earth maintain their eternal course, the sun 
and moon their light, the stars their serried ranks, the birds 
and beasts their flock, the trees and shrubs their station.' 37 
In other words, the man of li was admonished to follow the 
course of nature and to learn its secrets, instead of poking 
his nose into everything and 'laboriously advertising human- 
heartedness and righteousness like a town crier with his 
drum, seeking for news of a lost child.' 38 

'No, sir, 5 said Lao-tan to K'ung Ch'iu, 'what you are 
doing is to disjoint man's nature !' 30 

Finally, Chuang Chou also told spurious stories of Master 



K'ung, in which the latter was maliciously ridiculed as in 
the tale of the Brigand Ghih. Here the ingenious fiction- 
writer pictured the famous robber Chih and his men as en- 
joying a feast of minced human liver at the time of K'ung 
Ch'iu's visit. When the man from Lu was announced, the 
Brigand got so infuriated at the intrusion that his eyes 
blazed like fiery comets, his hair stood on end, and 'his hat 
was lifted off his head.' 40 Fuming and fretting, he threatened 
to add the visitor's liver to his 'morning stew'. At last, when 
Master K'ung was presented, the Brigand said to him : 'You 
dress up in a wide cloak and belt of clipped hide, and by 
your cant and humbug delude the princes of the world into 
giving you the wealth and honours that are your only real 
ambition. There can be no greater brigand than you, and 
instead of talking so much about the Brigand Ghih, I won- 
der why people do not call you the Brigand K'ung.' 41 On his 
part, the Sage was servile and fawning in the Brigand's 
presence. He acted in his best court manner when he rever- 
entially approached his insolent host. We seem to see him as 
he first advanced at a brisk trot, carefully avoiding the 
Brigand's mat, and then ran backwards a few steps before 
he finally prostrated himself twice before the enthroned 
robber. Later, with the same meticulous care he beat his 
retreat, only with greater speed this time. In fact, so 
thoroughly frightened was the Sage that 'when he reached 
the gate of the camp and regained his carriage, his hands 
were trembling to such an extent that three times the reins 
fell out of them. There was a cloud before his eyes and his 
face was ashen grey. He bent over the fore-rail with sunken 
head, gasping for breath.' 42 This is certainly the most ri- 
diculous picture of Master K'ung that we have ever seen. 

7. The White Horse and What Not 

FROM what we have related above it is apparent that the 
school of Ju, as Master K'ung's group came to be called, 
was only one of the numerous schools in this most prolific 
period of Chinese thought. The Ju, to be sure, possessed the 



advantage of having inherited the orthodox Chou culture 
handed down by the Duke of Chou and Master K'ung. But 
just as the imperial Chou position had been greatly im- 
paired in these warring times, so also had the Ju philosophy. 
Besides its main competitors, such as the Taoists, the Mo- 
hists, and, later, the Legalists, there were also a number of 
other schools, which evolved from and clustered around the 
major ones, thus adding their lesser lights to the galaxy of 
Chinese intellects. 

The school of 'Name', for instance, taught the theory of 
knowledge and the necessity of studying natural phe- 
nomena; its teachers were also well versed in the art of 
dialectics. This last led them to propound a series of logical 
puzzles such as 'An egg has feathers,' Tire is not hot,' 'The 
shadow of a flying bird has never moved, 5 'A white dog is 
black,' and many similar paradoxes 43 equally well known 
in the writings of this period. 

The two most famous names of this school were Hui Shih 
(fourth century B.C.) and Kung-sun Lung (fourth-third 
century B.C.). Both dialecticians, the former emphasized the 
relativity o\ actual things, while the latter the absoluteness of 
names. Hui Shih, a friend of Chuang Chou, with whom he 
had been engaged in many a verbal rebuttal, came to be 
prime minister of Wei. His works, it was said, filled five 
carts. Kung-sun Lung, the other logician, was the author 
of a chapter entitled 'Discourse on the White Horse', in 
which he averred that 'a white horse is not a horse.' As the 
story goes, once when Kung-sun Lung was approaching a 
frontier pass on horseback he was stopped by the guard, 
who told him that horses were not allowed there. 'But,' re- 
plied the philosopher-tourist, 'my horse is white, and a 
white horse is not a horse.' 44 With these words, he rode 
away in triumph, leaving the dumbfounded guard at a loss 
to solve the quibble. 

From this Dialectician group emerged a school of sophists 
known as 'Criss-cross Philosophers'. These were politicians 
versed in the art of persuasion and intrigue. Founded by 
Wang Hsu (fourth century B.C.), popularly known as the 



Master of the Ghost Vale, from the name of the valley in 
which he lived and taught, this school had two able repre- 
sentatives in Su Ch'in and Chang I. After having spent their 
schooldays together at Ghost Vale, the two friends parted 
to seek their fortunes. Of the two Su Ch'in was the more 
fortunate. After a short period of disappointment he rose 
spectacularly to power as president of a sextuple Anti- 
Ch'in Confederation formed by Ch'i, Cli'u, Yen, Han, Wei, 
and Chao, with eacli of the six allied powers conferring on 
him the seal of a separate chancellorship. 

In the meantime Chang I was in great distress. He had 
been accused of theft and bastinadoed in Ch'u; he had been 
rudely sent away by his great schoolmate when he had gone 
to him for help. At last, broken in spirit and fortune, he 
went back home, only to be showered with reproaches by 
his wife. 'Just see if my tongue is still in its place,' Chang I 
calmly said to her. And being told that it was, he remarked, 
'That will do.' 45 So he went out to try his luck once more. 
This time Chang I was more successful and with the same 
tongue won the confidence of the King of Ch'in, to whom he 
submitted the scheme of a Pro-Ch'in Union to offset the 
hostile influence of Su Chain's Confederation. Travelling to 
the Anti-Ch'in confederate states, he sowed the seed of dis- 
cord so successfully that they set to fighting each other in- 
stead of uniting against Ch'in. Thus Su Ch'in's alliance soon 
collapsed, and the fortunes of the two protagonists now were 
reversed. Their careers were typical of the so-called itinerant 
scholars of the time. 

There was also a school of Military Strategy founded by 
Sun Wu, a famous general (sixth-fifth century B.C.), to 
whom was attributed the authorship of a book of thirteen 
chapters on the tactics and philosophy of war. 46 Though 
undoubtedly the product of a later age, it was nevertheless 
the first book of its kind and has remained a military classic 
to this day. As for its reputed author, one story has it that 
he was once commissioned by the King of Wu to organize a 
corps of 1 80 women warriors selected from the royal harem. 
But at their first roll-call the young Amazons, making light 



of their captain, burst out laughing. A great disciplinarian, 
Sun Wu had two offenders, both the king's favourite concu- 
bines, decapitated. After that his orders were feared and 
obeyed and his fame as a general spread far and wide. 

Lastly, to complete our list, we must mention an offshoot 
of the Taoist, the Yin-yang school. It was so called because 
its members believed in the existence of yin (female) and 
Vfing (male) as two cosmic principles, in whose reactions all 
creations were produced. Sometimes it was also known as 
the Five Elements school, because it taught the fantastic 
theory that each period of history was dominated by one of 
five elements, namely, earth, wood, metal, fire, and water. 
According to the same theory these were also the active 
agents that produced and overcame each other in an end- 
less cycle. Thus metal, after remaining dominant for a cer- 
tain period of time, would be overcome by fire, just as fire 
was overcome by water, water by earth, earth by wood, and 
wood by metal. All in all, it was this school that first syn- 
thesized the supernatural views of the Chinese people and 
welded them into a single system of thought; it furthermore 
provided a philosophical basis for such occult beliefs as 
divination, physiognomy, and feng-shui,* 7 as well as a 
pseudo-scientific knowledge of the universe. More than any- 
thing else, it was a great co-ordinator of the ancient Sinitic 

Chapter Four 


i . Meng K'o, the Second Sage 

As we have seen, the period of the Warring States was not 
only an age of political confusion, but also one of intellectual 
activity, in which virtually 6 a hundred schools' of philosophy 
arose to vie for supremacy. It was indeed an age of sparkling 
wits, brilliant thinkers, and profound scholars ; but of them 
all Meng K'o stood out as the greatest. With his winning 
eloquence, moral courage, and deep conviction, he cham- 
pioned the ethical and political doctrines of Master K'ung, 
at the same time attacking with great zeal the heterodox 
teachings of the other schools. He also elaborated on the 
K'ung dogma until it attained a high standard of perfection. 
In his contribution to Ju philosophy, as in his defence of the 
great tradition, which he helped to complete, Meng K'o 
occupies a unique position among the scholars of the K'ung 
school. Posterity has rightly honoured him as the second 
sage, next only to the great Master himself. 

MENG K'o, popularly known as Master Meng (Mencius), 
lived in the fourth century B.C. His dates are uncertain. One 
commonly accepted tradition says that Meng KVs life 
covered the eighty-four years from 372 to 289 B.C. 1 He was 
born in the small principality of Tsou, 2 adjoining Lu. In 
fact, his ancestry could be traced to the great Meng family 
of Lu, some of whose members had once studied ceremony 
with K'ung Ch'iu. But with time, the distant branches of the 
once noble family became dispossessed and had to herd with 
the common people, among whom the boy K'o grew up. 

Meng KVs father, it seems, played little part in the up- 
bringing of his son. It is believed that he died early when 



K'o was only three years old. On the other hand, K'o'j 
mother was a famous historical figure, generally regardec 
as an epitome of motherly virtue. In the course of centuries 
a number of anecdotes, too delightful to be left untold, have 
been gathered to illustrate the way in which the future sage 
was reared. According to one of these, Mother Meng movec 
three times in order to provide her child with the best pos- 
sible environment. The story says that they first lived neai 
a cemetery, where burying and mourning so impressed the 
boy that he took to mimicking the procedures with great 
seriousness. 'This is no place for my son,' 3 said the mother, 
and so she moved to an apartment near the market-place, 
Here young K'o straightway became a pedlar, bargaining 
and vaunting his wares from morning till night. Greatly 
concerned, his mother made another move, this time by a 
schoolhouse, where the sensitive child began to improve hi 
manners by imitating the dignified bearing of the scholars. 
Like them, he bowed and yielded precedence as he ad- 
vanced and retired - truly a pretty sight to see in a little boy ! 

Another story relates that the boy Meng saw a butcher 
kill a pig. 'What for?' he asked his mother. 'To feed you,' 
the mother answered. But upon second thoughts she re- 
pented her remark. 'When I was pregnant with him,' she 
said to herself, 'I would not sit on a mat that was not 
properly placed and I would not eat meat that was not 
properly carved. In this way I started his education early 
before he was born. And now, just as his intelligence is un- 
folding, I lie to him. This is teaching him to be dishonest.' 4 
So in order to justify her words she went out and bought 
some pork for the boy. 

When Meng K'o grew up he studied with a disciple of 
Tzu-ssu, and was thus initiated into the great school of 
K'ung. At first he was not a particularly diligent student. 
Then one day, as he stopped in the midst of his recitation, 
his mother, who had been plying the loom near by, sud- 
denly gashed the web with a knife. Astonished, K'o asked 
the reason. 'Your inattention to your studies is not much 
different from my cutting the web,' 5 she said. In both cases 



the work was undone when it was only half done. This ad- 
monition remained with Meng K'o all his life, making him 
the most industrious of students - and later the best of 

About Meng K'o's marriage nothing is known except for 
an interesting, though improbable, story of his wanting to 
divorce his wife when he found her half-naked in her bou- 
doir. This, he contended, was a serious breach of etiquette, 
and he made ready to part with her. But Mother Meng 
saved the situation by summoning her son to her presence 
for a lecture. * According to the rules of propriety,' she 
chided, a man raises his voice when he goes up the hall, so 
as to warn folks of his approach; and he keeps his eyes low 
as he enters the door for fear that he might detect another's 
faults. But you yourself have transgressed in etiquette, and 
yet you blame your wife for it. Isn't that unjust?' 6 The 
dutiful son admitted his mistake and kept his wife. 

2. 'Be Strong to do Good' 

EXCEPT for these scattered incidents, a complete darkness 
cloaks the first years of Meng K'o's life. This was probably 
a period of preparation, of intensive study and diligent re- 
search in the texts of the K'ung school. But when he reached 
his fortieth year he emerged from his obscurity as a great 
scholar with a band of faithful followers. Then came a 
period of twenty or more years of active public life, during 
which he visited the states of Lu, Wei (also known as Liang, 
from the name of its capital), T'eng, Sung, and Ch'i, where 
he stayed the longest. Meng K'o's fame was such that 
everywhere he went he was received with honour and re- 
spect by the rulers. He was well entertained, comfortably 
lodged, and amply recompensed for his services. Handsome 
gifts, including gold, he received as tokens of friendship 
from the great princes. His advice was eagerly sought, and 
once or twice even followed. A counsellor of kings, Meng 
K o travelled in grand style - which would have put Master 
K'ung to shame - with a retinue of hundreds of followers in 



a long train of carriages. When his mother died, he gave her 
such a lavish funeral that it created a sensation in Lu and 
incurred criticism from all quarters. 

Among the princes who had dealings with Meng K'o, 
Duke Wen of T'eng was the most faithful. T'eng was a 
small principality of about ten square miles, close to Tsou, 
Meng K'o's birthplace. Its ruler, Wen, when still a crown 
prince, had made a special trip to visit Master Meng, of 
whose fame as a scholar he had heard a great deal. The 
meeting, as was expected, proved fruitful. While pleased 
with the scholar's discourse on the goodness of human 
nature, his laudatory reference to the sage-kings of antiquity, 
and his insistence on the oneness of too, the prince was 
-especially impressed by Master Meng's assurance that T'eng, 
though a small principality, might yet rise to greatness 
under a good prince. So immediately after his ascension to 
the throne following his father's death Duke Wen sent his 
tutor, Jan Yu, to seek Master Meng's advice on the first 
principles of good government. 

When the T'eng envoy went to Tsou to consult Master 
Meng, the latter replied,* How good it is for a man to do his 
utmost in discharging his funeral duties to his parents! 5 7 
Then, quoting Tseng Ts'an's words on filial piety, he ended 
by advising the Duke of T'eng, before he did anything else, 
to observe the three years' mourning for his father by wear- 
ing coarse garb and eating meals of gruel. But when this ad- 
vice was brought back to T'eng the new duke had a hard 
time convincing his people of its wisdom. So Jan Yu made 
a second visit to Master Meng. The scholar, still insisting on 
the soundness of his opinion, this time quoted Master K'ung 
as his authority. Moreover, he asked, had not Master 
K'ung himself said that the relation between a prince and 
his subjects was like that between the wind and the grass, 
and that the grass bent in whichever direction the wind 
blew? The whole business, therefore, depended upon the 
prince himself. When Jan Yu returned with these words, the 
duke was convinced. For five months he mourned his 
father's death by dwelling in a shed without issuing any 



edict or holding any audience, so that at last his fame as a 
filial son spread far and wide. When after the customary 
waiting period the burial of the old duke finally took place, 
people flocked from all sides to witness it; and those who 
condoled with the prince were immensely pleased with 'the 
sadness of his countenance and the mournful ness of his wail- 
ing and weeping.' 8 So Meng K'o scored a ceremonial tri- 
umph through the Duke of T'eng; but T'eng did not rise 
to power as the scholar had promised. 

A few years later Master Meng visited the court of T'eng 
as an honoured guest of the duke, who assiduously consulted 
him on government affairs. A small principality between 
the mighty Ch'u and Ch'i, Teng had a difficult time hold- 
ing her own between her aggressive neighbours. Such being 
the situation, Master Meng's long-range propositions 
seemed too slow to meet the imminent dangers. Duke Wen, 
for instance, was alarmed at the news of Ch'i's erecting forti- 
fications on the T'eng border. He was at a loss as to what he 
should do, and so was Master Meng, who could only coun- 
sel him vaguely with, 'If you do good, there will be one 
among your descendants who will attain the kingly sway. A 
prince lays the foundation and then bequeaths his achieve- 
ments to his successors to be continued by them. But the 
final accomplishment depends upon Heaven. What else can 
you do? Be strong to do good - that is all!' 9 

3. Profit versus Virtue 

MENG K'o's relations with the other princes were not as 
happy as those with the Duke of T'eng. From the first meet- 
ing he had with King Hui of Liang it was obvious that the 
scholar and the prince could not get along together. The 
aged king, who during his long reign had witnessed many 
ups and downs of his kingdom, and who had suffered severe 
indignities at the hand of the other states, including the loss 
of territory and the life of his eldest son, was naturally inter- 
ested in power politics. What he especially wanted was to 
strengthen his state militarily in order to avenge these 


humiliations. So immediately after greeting the venerable 
scholar from Tsou he asked him what advice he would give 
to profit his kingdom; and as immediately he received a re- 
buff from his visitor, who had no love for such ideas as profit. 
'Why must you speak of profit?' Meng K'o asked, for ac- 
cording to him, if the king was interested only in profit for 
his country, the great ministers in profit for their families, 
the petty officials and the common people in profit for their 
persons, then high and low would fight one another for 
gain and the kingdom would be in danger. Then he con- 
tinued: 'Let Your Majesty speak of love (Jen) and righteous- 
ness (yi), and of nothing else. Why must you speak of 
profit?' 10 

The above conversation underscores the great difference 
of opinion between Meng K'o, the advocate of Ju philo- 
sophy, and the feudal lords, who were more interested in 
quick practical results than in grand ethico-political ideals. 
So when King Hui complained that he had devoted not 
only his whole life but all his energies as well to his country, 
and yet fared no better than the rulers of the neighbouring 
states, Master Meng enlightened him with an illustration 
from war, which the king liked and understood, 'Suppose 
that after the drums have beaten, and swords have been 
crossed, your soldiers throw off their armour, trail their 
weapons behind them, and retreat, some a hundred steps 
and others fifty steps ; would you not say that the men who 
ran only fifty paces have a right to laugh at those who ran 
a hundred paces ?' 

'No,' answered the king, 'they also retreated, though not 
as far.' 

'Since Your Majesty knows this,' said Master Meng, 'you 
must not expect to have more people than the neighbouring 
lands.' 11 

In another conversation Meng K'o attacked King Hui 
directly without beating about the bush. After the king told 
him that he would receive his instruction calmly, Master 
Meng asked, 'Is killing a man with a club any different from 
killing him with a sword ?' 


'No, there is no difference.' 

'Is killing him with the sword any different from killing 
him by misrule?' 

'No, there is no difference,' the king admitted. 

'In your kitchen,' Master Meng pursued, 'there is fat 
meat; in your stables there are fat horses; but the people 
look hungry, and starved bodies lie along the countryside. 
This is letting beasts devour men. Men hate even beasts that 
eat each other. If a prince, who is a parent to his people, 
cannot govern without letting beasts eat men, wherein is he 
a parent to his people?' 12 

A year or so after Meng Ko's visit King Hui died. He was 
succeeded by his son, King Hsiang, who made an even 
worse impression on the sage. After his first interview with 
the new ruler, Master Meng told his friends what he thought 
of the king: 'When 1 looked at him from a distance, he did 
not appear to me like a sovereign, and when I drew near to 
him, I saw nothing in him to command awe and respect.' 13 
In fact, Master Meng was so disgusted that he soon left the 

4. Below the Gate of Grain 

THE greater part of Meng K'o's political life was spent in 
Ch'i during the reign of its King Hsiian, a great patron of 
letters. Gathering to his court a galaxy of notable intellec- 
tuals, the king lodged them in magnificent quarters below 
the western gate of the capital, known as the Gate of Grain. 
He also gave them rich emoluments and honorary titles, but 
without burdening them with any work. Their only duty 
was to advise the king on political affairs, to discourse on 
their learning, and to compile books for the propagation of 
their teachings. In this way Ch'i became the greatest centre 
of learning during the period of the Warring States and 
attracted many eminent scholars and philosophers. 

Twice Master Meng visited Ch'i, where he was well re- 
ceived by King Hsiian. But, unlike those amateur statesmen 
below the Gate of Grain, Master Meng was an office-holder 
in the court of Ch'i, 14 though it is uncertain in what capacity 

S.H.C.F. 65 C 


he rendered his service. We only know that he occupied a 
high position at court, probably that of a counsellor, and 
that he had been sent by the king on a mission of condolence 
to T*eng with a court favourite as his assistant. Sometimes he 
was also consulted on important state affairs as in the case of 
the war between Ch'i and Yen. All in all, his position in 
Ch'i seemed to be a respectable as well as a responsible one. 

In his many interviews with King Hsiian, Master Meng 
tried to persuade him that, in spite of his self-confessed 
weaknesses for beauty and wealth, hunting and music, parks 
and palaces, he could yet attain imperial sway if he would 
only share his pleasures with the people. He also tactfully 
flattered the king, praising his kindness to animals before 
telling him that he should extend his kindness from animals 
to men. In all these discourses Meng K*o showed himself a 
master of rhetoric who knew how to put the king in good 
humour so as to make him receptive to his more serious ad- 
vice. But once in a while Master Meng did not hesitate to 
drive home his point. Talking to the king one day, he asked, 
'If Your Majesty's minister, while going on a journey to 
Ch'u, had entrusted his wife and children to a friend, and 
upon his return discovered that his wife and children had 
been cold and starved, what should he do to his friend ?' 

'Cast him off!' replied the king. 

'If your chief judge could not regulate the offices under 
him, what should be done ?' 

'He should be dismissed. 1 

'If within the four borders of your kingdom there is no 
good government, what should be done?' 

The king looked uneasy and changed the subject. 13 

A very interesting incident is told of the polite relation 
that existed between Master Meng and King Hsiian. It hap- 
pened like this: One day, as Master Meng was going to 
court, he received a message from the king, informing him 
that His Majesty was prevented from paying him a visit on 
account of a cold, and hoped instead that Master Meng 
would go to see him the next morning. Master Meng was 
displeased with the king's insincerity. So he replied that he 



too was ill and regretted that he would not be able to attend 
on the king. The next day, however, he went out as usual to 
pay a visit of condolence at a friend's home. But just after he 
left, the king's messenger arrived with a doctor to look after 
his health. This put Master Meng's nephew, who was at 
home to receive the royal envoys, in such a great dilemma 
that in order to smooth things over he lied that his uncle, 
who had felt better that morning, was on his way to the 
palace. At the same time he dispatched several men to way- 
lay Master Merig, begging him by all means to pay the king 
a visit. Master Meng, apparently, was unperturbed by the 
message, for, ignoring it, he spent the night with his friend. 

After several years in Ch'i, Master Meng finally decided 
that it was time for him to leave. When his intention was 
made known, the king went to pay him a visit, and later 
sent an official to persuade him to stay. Master Meng, how- 
ever, was unmoved. He even refused to speak with another 
emissary of the king, who caught up with him the first night 
after he had left the capital ; instead, he leant upon his stool 
and slept. But, in spite of his resolution, Master Meng was 
at heart reluctant to leave what was probably the best court 
in those days. For three nights he lingered at a border town 
of Ch'i, vainly expecting another message of recall from the 
king. But it never came; so he finally left Ch'i for his home- 

In many ways Master Meng's life was comparable to that 
of Master K'ung. Like his predecessor, he spent the best 
years of his life in search of a sage ruler who would put his 
teachings into practice; also like his predecessor, he failed 
to meet such an intelligent prince and had to be satisfied 
with teaching and compilation in his last years. In one 
respect, however, he was more fortunate than Master 
K'ung. He was able to live comfortably in his private life, 
and was spared the dangers and distresses that beset Master 
K'ung in the course of his travels. But, on the other hand, 
Master Meng lacked the opportunity that Master K'ung 
had to put his theory into practice. More of a scholar than 
a statesman, Meng K'o, though able to discourse elo- 


quently on government, did not show the statesmanship 
which his great forbear certainly displayed in his spectacular 
rise to power in Lu as a successful administrator and 

For the last twenty years of his life Meng K'o settled down 
peacefully at Tsou to continue his teaching and writing. He 
left to posterity seven books of the discourses he had with 
kings, ministers, friends, and followers. These, as recorded 
by his disciples, are replete with wit, wisdom, and elo- 
quence. The Works of Meng-tzu now ranks as one of the four 
great books of the Ju school, the other three being the Ana- 
lects, The Great Learning, and the Doctrine of the Mean. Com- 
pared with these, Meng K'o's work excels especially in its 
interesting content as well as in its florid style. 

5. Master Meng is not fond of Arguing 

As has been previously noted, Meng K'o lived at a time 
when many other schools of philosophy flourished. So be- 
sides meting out his advice to princes and kings he had also 
to defend his tenets against rival teachings that prevailed 
among the intellectuals of his age. Alarmed by the spread 
of unorthodox ideas, Master Meng felt in duty bound to 
come to the defence of the K'ung doctrine. His attitude was 
clearly shown in his answer to a disciple who asked him: 
'Master, people all say that you are fond of disputing. May 
I venture to ask why?' 

'Indeed, why should I love disputing? But, how can I 
help it?' replied Master Meng. 16 

Yes, how could Meng K'o do otherwise than fight against 
the overflowing streams of ideas that had engulfed the 
world of Chinese thought ? 

In particular, Master Meng attacked Yang Chu and Mo 
Ti, whose teachings were as directly opposed to each other 
as they were to those of the Ju school, but proved to be 
equally popular among the people and therefore equally 
dangerous from the point of view of a devoted K'ung fol- 
lower. To Master Meng, Yang Chu, who would not pluck 



out a single hair from his body to benefit the world, and Mo 
Ti, who, on the contrary, was bent on saving the world even 
though he had to rub his body smooth from head to foot, 
were both extremists who failed to attain the golden mean, 
and who therefore perverted the true way. * If the doctrines 
of Yang and Mo are not checked, and the doctrine of Master 
K'ung is not promoted,' asserted Meng K'o, 'perverse 
teachings will delude the people and block the road to 
human-heartedness and righteousness. And when that way 
is blocked, beasts will devour men, and men will devour one 
another.' 17 

Thus, by opposing the evil teachings of Yang and Mo, 
Master Meng aspired to perpetuate the traditions of the 
sages. His aim, like that of Master K'ung, was to rectify the 
hearts of men so that they would not stray from the right 
path. 'Do I do so because I am fond of arguing?' reiterated 
Master Meng. 'No, it is simply that I cannot do otherwise. 
Any one who lifts his voice against Yang and Mo is worthy 
to be a disciple of the sages.' 18 

It seems, however, that Master Meng did not have any 
actual contact with the adherents of Yang and Mo. The 
only recorded incident in this connexion was his criticism 
of a certain Mohist named Yi Chih, who, dazzled by Master 
Meng's great fame, wished to be presented to him. This 
Master Meng denied, but he consented to carry on a con- 
versation with him through an intermediary, one of his own 
disciples. When told of the Mohist 's assertion that love itself 
was without difference of degree, Master Meng accused him 
of failing to acknowledge the peculiar affection due to a 
parent or even a kinsman. 'Does Yi Chih really believe that 
a brother's son is no dearer to him than a neighbour's 
child?' 19 he asked. 

By entirely ignoring even the closest family relationship 
it is quite obvious that Mo Ti merited Meng K'o's attack 
that he was 'without a father', just as Yang Chu merited the 
accusation of being 'without a sovereign', because of his self- 
interest. 'But to acknowledge neither king nor father is to be a 
brute,' 20 concluded Master Meng in a logic typically his own. 



6. The Hermit and the Goose 

TOWARDS the Taoist school of hermits and agriculturalists 
Master Meng's criticism was also extremely caustic. His 
attitude is clearly demonstrated by the way he ridiculed 
Ch'en Chung, an ascetic who lived in great poverty in the 
country. Though a member of an ancient family, with a rich 
elder brother holding high office at court, he chose never- 
theless the life of a Taoist recluse. One day, so Meng K'o 
tells us, when Ch'en Chung went to his brother's house, he 
was annoyed by the cackling of a goose. Knitting his brow, 
he complained, 'What is this cackle-cackle here for?' But 
soon afterwards, without Ch'en Chung's knowledge, his 
mother killed the goose and prepared a feast for her 'prodi- 
gal son*. At this very moment his brother returned from 
abroad. Seeing that Gh'en Chung, an avowed vegetarian, 
was feasting on the goose with great relish, he said malici- 
ously, 'Don't you know that this is the flesh of the cackle- 
cackle? 5 Thereupon the holy hermit became so disgusted 
that he vomited what he had previously so much enjoyed. 
'In his abstinence,' commented Master Meng sarcastically, 
'wasn't Ch'en Chung much like the worm that ate only the 
dry mould above ground and drank from the Yellow Spring 
below?' 21 

7. Master Hsu has his Troubles 

ANOTHER butt of Meng K'o's attack was a group of 
southern philosophers who believed in returning to a simple 
life as an antidote for the corruptions of feudal civilization. 
Claiming their inspiration from the legendary emperor Shen 
Nung, the Divine Husbandman, 22 they practised farming in 
the country, and while in the city, wove mats and plaited 
sandals for a living. A leader of such a group, Hsu Hsing by 
name, came to T'eng, where Meng K'o had his magnificent 
quarters in the ducal palace. It happened that a new con- 
vert of Hsu Hsing came one day to visit Master Meng, and 
in the course of the conversation reported Hsu Hsing's 



criticism of the duke. 'The prince of T'eng,' he said, 'is in- 
deed a worthy prince, but he has not yet heard the doctrine 
of the true way. The wise ruler labours in the fields with his 
people, and eats with them. He prepares his own meals, 
m6rning and evening, while carrying on the work of the 
government. But the lord of T'eng has barns and granaries, 
storehouses and treasure houses: he is actually oppressing 
the people to nourish himself. How can he be a really 
worthy prince?' 

'Master Hsu, I presume,' said Master Meng, 'sows the 
grain and eats his own produce.' 


'Does he also weave the cloth he wears? 1 

'No, Master Hsu wears clothes of hair-cloth.' 

'Has Master Hsu a cap ?' 

'Yes, he wears one.' 

'What kind of cap?' 

'A plain one.' 

'Did he weave it himself?' 

'No. He bartered grain for it.' 

'Why didn't he make it himself?' 

'That would have interfered with his farming.' 

'Does Master Hsu use pots and pans for cooking, and iron 
shares for ploughing?' 


'Did he make them himself?' 

'No. He bartered grain for them.' 

'Well,' said Master Meng, 'if he did no harm to the potter 
and smith when he bartered his grain for their articles, why 
should the husbandman be harmed when the potter and 
smith bartered their articles for his grain? Moreover, why 
does not Master Hsu himself take up pottery and smithery, 
supplying his needs with articles made on his own premises ? 
Why all this multifarious dealing with a hundred crafts- 
men? Why does Master Hsu go to so much trouble?' 

'Why, the business of farming cannot possibly be carried 
on at the same time with a number of other trades', 
answered the new convert in defence of Master Hsu. 


'Is it then the government of a stale which alone can be 
combined with the business of farming? 5 pursued Master 
Meng. 'No, society is constructed in such a way that men of 
high and low stations have alike their own businesses; and 
every one has to be supplied with the products of other 
men's industry. On the other hand, everybody in this 
world would be thrown into confusion if he had to manu- 
facture all the articles for his own use. Hence the saying, 
"Some toil with their minds; others toil with their bodies. 
Those who toil with their minds govern others, while those 
who toil with their bodies are governed by others. Those 
who are governed produce food ; those who govern are fed by 
their fellows." This is a principle universally recognized.' 23 
This was also, as we have seen, the very principle of feudalism, 
upon which Masters K'ung and Meng based their teachings. 

8. The Hand that Rescues a Drowning Sister-in-law 

FROM all these controversies Master Meng, the veteran of a 
hundred debates, always emerged triumphant, confounding 
his opponents with his eloquence and adroitness until they 
were either tongue-tied or heartily convinced. Only once 
was he entrapped in the maze of argument, from which he 
could hardly tear himself away. This was when he was 
closeted with a famous sophist of the time by the name of 
Shun-yii K'un. Their conversation, as reported in Master 
Meng's Works, ran as follows : 

'Is it a rule of etiquette,' asked the sophist, 'that men and 
women should not touch hands when passing things to one 

'It is,' replied Master Meng. 

'Suppose a man's sister-in-law were drowning,' pursued 
Shun-yii K'un, 'should he rescue her with his hand ?' 

'Certainly he should,' replied Master Meng. 'Not to res- 
cue one's sister-in-law from drowning would be beastly in- 
humanity. It is a general rule for men and women not to 
touch hands; whereas to pull a drowning sister-in-law out of 
the water with one's hand is merely expediency/ 



This was good repartee, but it was exactly here that 
Master Meng got caught in his own logic. 

'The whole world, 5 said Shun-yii K'un, 'is drowning be- 
fore your eyes. How is that you, Master, will not rescue it 
with your hands?' 

Discomfited, Master Meng could only resort to a quibble 
for an answer: 'A drowning world,' he said, 'is to be saved 
by tao\ a drowning sister-in-law with the hand. Do you ex- 
pect me to rescue the world with my hand?' 24 


Chapter Five 


i . The Innate Goodness of Human Nature 

ONE of the most brilliant minds of his time, Meng K'o was, 
like K'ung Ch'iu, an indefatigable teacher of morals and 
government. He succeeded Tzu-ssu and Tseng Ts'an as 
leader of the catholic Ju school and left to posterity a 
system of ethico-political doctrines well expounded in his 
numerous discourses with kings and commoners. Especially 
well known are his words on human nature and political 
economy, of which he was an able exponent. He was, 
moreover, the first of the Ju philosophers to emphasize the 
importance of the people's livelihood as the first duty of 
government. Living in the midst of a chaotic age, in which 
the common man suffered from untold miseries, Master 
Meng felt keenly that all human endeavour should be 
directed to the creation of an ideal state like the Great 
Commonwealth, in which mankind could live happily and 
harmoniously together. But, true to the great tradition of 
the K'ung school, Meng K'o also maintained that good 
government depended upon good administration, thus 
underscoring the need of moral cultivation on the part of 
the ruling class. Hence ethics too became the corner-stone 
of Master Meng's teaching. He went, however, a step fur- 
ther than his predecessors in an effort to find a psychological 
basis for his ethical ideas, and in so doing made the happy 
discovery of the innate goodness of man's nature, his chief 
contribution to Chinese thought. 

Before we discuss Master Meng's idea itself, a few words of 
explanation seem necessary. First of all, it must be pointed 
out that in an age of intense intellectual activity like the 
period of the Warring States man was not only wide awake 
to the mysteries of the great universe, from which he de- 



duced the complementary principles ofyin andyang, but he 
was also tremendously curious about the microcosmic world 
that was in himself. Hence the prevalent question of the 
time was: What was human nature after all? Was it good, 
and if so, was man's goodness endowed by Heaven at his 
birth ? Or was it in all aspects inherently bad ? 

In answer to these questions a number of theories have 
been advanced. One school, led by Master Kao, with whom 
Master Meng had many arguments, believed that human 
nature was neither good nor bad; another school main- 
tained that it could be turned towards good or bad, depend- 
ing upon circumstances. According to still another school, the 
innate nature of some men was good, while that of others was 
bad. To support this theory, several historical figures were 
mentioned as examples : a sage king who had a wicked father, 
and a worthless monarch who had a sage uncle. 

But contrary to all of them, Master Meng held that 
man's nature was good. Said he, 'It is in virtue of man's innate 
feelings that human nature may be considered good.' * In 
other words, man's nature is good because, when guided by 
these innate feelings, man will do what is good. On the other 
hand, if man does not do what is good, his instincts are not 
to blame. It is only that he has lost his original power for 
good. As the saying goes, 'Seek, and ye shall find; let go, 
and it is lost.' 2 

To illustrate further Meng K'o's views on this subject, let 
us quote the following debate between him and Master 
Kao, his opponent: 

'Our nature,' Master Kao observed, 'is like whirling 
water. If a breach is made to the east, it flows to the east; if 
a breach is made to the west, it flows west. And just as water 
does not discern between east and west, so man's nature is 
indifferent to good or bad.' 

'It is true,' rejoined Master Meng, 'that water will flow 
indifferently to east or west, but will it flow equally well up 
and down? Human nature is disposed towards goodness 
just as water tends to flow downwards. There is no water 
but flows downwards, and no man but shows his tendency 



to be good. Now, by striking water hard, you may splash it 
higher than your head, and, by damming it, you may make 
it go uphill. But, is that the nature of water? Or is it ex- 
ternal force that causes it to do so ? Likewise, if man is not 
made to do what is good, his nature is being forced in a 
similar way.' 3 

Human nature, moreover, is not to be confounded with 
the externals of life. It is not that by which a man is a 
creature of appetites and passions, but that by which a man 
is lifted up into the higher sphere of intelligence and virtue. 

In another controversy with Master Kao, who main- 
tained the somewhat absurd view that life and nature were 
one, Master Meng asked, 'Do you call life nature in the 
same sense that you call white white?' 


'Is the whiteness of a white feather the same as the white- 
ness of white snow? And is the whiteness of white snow the 
same as the whiteness of white jade?' 


'Then,' said Master Meng triumphantly, 'is the nature of 
a dog the same as the nature of an ox, and the nature of an 
ox the same as the nature of a man?' 

2. An Allegory of the Virgin Forest 

IN an interesting allegory Master Meng compared the abuse 
of man's innate nature to the despoiling of a virgin forest. 

'Beautiful once were the trees on Bull Mountain,' said 
Master Meng. 'But being on the outskirts of a great capital, 5 
they were hewn down with axes and hatchets, and their 
beauty was destroyed. Even so, the day air and night air 
quickened the stumps, and rain and dew moistened them 
until here and there fresh sprouts began to grow. But soon 
cattle and sheep came to browse on them, and in the end 
the mountain became gaunt and bare as it is now. And see- 
ing it thus, people imagine that it was never wooded. But is 
such the nature of the mountain ? 

'So it is with human nature. How can it be, indeed, that 


man is devoid of human-heartedness and righteousness ? 
The reason is that he has lost his true heart in the same way 
that the trees have been felled by axes and hatchets. Stricken 
day after day, how can the heart remain fair ? Even so, the 
breath of day and night, and the calm air of dawn develop 
in man's heart desires and aversions that are proper to hu- 
manity. But soon these better feelings are ruffled and quelled 
by the day's destructive work. Thus, fettered again and 
again, they wither, and the healing influence of night is in- 
sufficient to keep them alive. So in the end man reverts to a 
state not far removed from that of birds and beasts, and see- 
ing him thus, people imagine that he never had talents. 
But is such the nature of man ? Truly, 

If rightly tended, no creature but thrives ; 
If left untended, no creature but pines away. 

Master K'ung said, "Hold fast, and you shall keep it; let 
go, and it is gone. It comes and goes without keeping time; 
none knows where it abides." Was it not the human heart 
of which he spoke? 1 6 

The above passage makes clear Master Meng's chief con- 
tention that human nature is originally good, but that it 
may also become depraved through man's own destructive 
efforts or because of the rough contacts of life. Its thriving 
or withering away depends, therefore, in a large measure 
upon whether it is tended or not. In other words, man still 
retains all the goodness that was originally in his heart; but 
as time goes by his grasp on it becomes weakened, and if he 
does not take care to hold it fast he is liable to lose it alto- 

3. Four Limbs of a Man 

THE great problem confronting man is therefore that of 
preserving and cultivating those good feelings that are his 
birthright. These are, according to Master Meng, the feel- 
ings of compassion, shame (for one's want of goodness), 



reverence (or modesty), and discrimination between right 
and wrong. Being instinctive, these feelings are also common 
to all men. Take, for instance, the feeling of compassion. It 
is aroused the moment one sees a child about to fall into a 
well. The reaction comes spontaneously, not because one is 
distressed at the child's cries, nor because one hopes by res- 
cuing the child to win its parents' gratitude or the neigh- 
bours' praise, but because one is endowed with a heart that 
cannot endure to see the suffering of others.' 7 It is the pos- 
session of this feeling of commiseration, as well as of the 
others mentioned above, that distinguishes man from other 

Thus, to differentiate himself from birds and beasts, man 
should aim at the development of his good feelings so that 
they may ripen into great virtues. Generally speaking, this 
should not be difficult to achieve, for man has not only 
many advantages over the lower animals but is endowed as 
well with the capacity for perfection. Every one, indeed, has 
the makings of a sage in him, for if all men are fundamen- 
tally the same in their nature, so Master Meng affirmed, 'we 
and the sages must also be one in kind.' In fact, we may all 
be Yaos and Shuns, the wise kings of antiquity, if we but 
tread in their path. 'If you wear Yao's clothes, speak Yao's 
words, and do Yao's deeds,' observed Master Meng, 'then 
you too will be a Yao - that is all!' 8 

Therefore, if we fail, as most of us do, in achieving the 
greatness of a Yao or Shun, we have only ourselves to blame. 
The trouble is not in our stars, but in our failure to develop 
fully those good instincts from which spring the four great 
virtues of jen (human-heartedness) , yi (righteousness), li 
(propriety), and chih (wisdom). To be more specific, the 
feeling of compassion is the origin of human-heartedness; 
the feeling of shame, the origin of righteousness ; the feeling 
of reverence, the origin of propriety; and the sense of right 
and wrong, the origin of wisdom. 'Man has these four be- 
ginnings,' remarked Master Meng, 'just as he has his four 
limbs.' 9 

These virtues, it must be noted, are not drilled into us 


from without but are part of our being. Being inherent in 
our nature, they show themselves in our behaviour and ac- 
tions and, if properly nurtured, will grow and ripen in our 
mind. Their presence in man, for instance, is indicated in 
'the serenity of his countenance, the nobility of his bearing, 
and the general character they impart to his limbs, which 
know how to move without need of speech.' 10 

Though often mentioned together, these four virtues are 
not equally important in Master Meng's ethical scale. He 
seldom spoke of chih except in connexion with knowledge 
and education. As to It, once the major subject of study in 
the K'ung school, he gave it a position subordinate to jen 
and yi, the two cardinal virtues in his scheme. Jen, which 
Master Meng considered as synonymous with 'humanity', 
was especially exalted as the hub of man's nature, with vi as 
its external expression. As Master Meng put it, 'Human- 
heartedness is man's peaceful abode, and righteousness his 
true road.' Then he continued, 'Alas for those who desert 
the peaceful abode and dwell not therein! Alas for those 
who abandon the true path and follow it not !' u 

4. The Disgraceful Man ofCh'i 

ACCORDING to Master Meng, one who does not follow the 
course of human-heartedness and righteousness loses the 
original goodness of his heart. In so doing he exposes him- 
self to bad external influences, while internally, evil impulses 
gain ascendancy over him. So he becomes unscrupulous and 
depraved, seeking by deceitful means the gratification of his 
desires. That is how man degenerates and becomes as 
shameless as the Man of Ch'i in the following story told by 
Master Meng: 

There was a Man of Ch'i who lived with his wife and con- 
cubine in a small city. Every morning he would leave home 
early all by himself and returned at night, smelling of wine 
and meat. When asked with whom he had been dining and 
drinking, he would reply haughtily that they were all 
people of wealth and rank. But since no men of distinction 



ever came to visit him, his wife at last became suspicious and 
determined to spy on him. Accordingly, one morning she 
followed her husband. As he walked through the whole city 
she noticed that not a soul stopped to talk with him. With 
this her suspicion grew even greater. At last he came to a 
graveyard in the eastern suburb, and you may imagine her 
disgust when she saw him going about begging for scraps of 
food that were left over from the sacrifices that were being 
offered among the tombs. Thus he went from group to group 
until he had his bellyful. This was too much for his good 
spouse, who couldn't get home fast enough to tell the concu- 
bine what she had seen. In utter shame of their husband, the 
two women stood together in the middle of the courtyard, 
weeping and wailing. Meanwhile the man came strutting 
home with his usual supercilious air, unaware of what had 

*In the eyes of a gentleman,' concluded Master Meng, 
'the way men seek riches and honours, success and gain, is 
seldom such that their wives and concubines would not 
weep together for shame. 5 32 

5. The Heart of a Naked Child 

WARNED by the example of the Man of Ch e i, we ask our- 
selves the question : how is it possible for us to preserve the 
innate goodness that is within us? In answering this ques- 
tion we are reminded of a remarkable saying of Meng KVs 
that, 'A gentleman is one who has not lost the heart of a 
naked child.' 13 The infant heart, so to speak, is a symbol as 
well as the source of all that is good in our nature, to which 
we should hold fast. Nevertheless, the irony of life is that 
when our dogs and chickens go astray we make every effort 
to find them; but very few of us are interested in recovering 
our natural goodness. In view of this neglect and ignorance, 
Master Meng taught the ways in which men could preserve, 
their good nature. 

First of all, men should have the will to be good and to da 
good. Jen, the supreme virtue, needs, for instance, con- 


tinual and careful cultivation. As mentioned above, the seed 
of jen is present in the heart of every one, but it may fail to 
grow if constant vigilance is not exercised at all times. Like 
the five kinds of grain, jen too should be tended with the utmost 
care : it should be watered, sunned, and fertilized until it be- 
comes ripe. 'Of all seeds, the five kinds of grain are the best; 
yet if unripe they are not so good as darnel or tares. The same 
is true of jen: here, too, ripeness is everything/ 14 

The main function of education, therefore, is to develop 
those good feelings inherent in us. To do this we must exert 
great care and forbearance, for just as grain cannot grow in 
one day, but must take time for ripening, so also must hu- 
man nature. Unduly hastening its process is just as harmful 
as negligence. It will but spoil the crop, as is shown in 
another of Master Meng's parables. 

The Man of Sung, on visiting his fields, was grieved be- 
cause his young grain had not grown as tall as it should. So 
he tried to assist its growth by pulling out the shoots. Re- 
turning home all covered with weeds and grass, he said to 
his people, 'I am all tired out. I have been helping the grain 
to grow.' 15 His son ran out to see what had happened, and 
lo ! the grain had all withered. 

After telling the story, Master Meng moralized, 'There 
are few indeed in this world who do not assist their grain to 
grow. Those who think it useless to nourish their hearts are 
like those who neglect to weed, while those who help their 
hearts to grow (by unnatural means) are pulling their crops 
up by the roots. There is not only no benefit in this, but 
actual harm.' 18 

Another important factor in the cultivation of one's na- 
ture is environment. A good environment favours, just as 
bad environment spoils, its growth. To continue our figure 
of seed-planting, let us quote another passage from Master 
Meng, 'Now, here is the barley seed, sown on the same land 
at the same time. Growing lustily, it ripens with mid- 
summer. But not all the crop is alike. Some of it is good, and 
some bad, because the soil is rich in some spots and stony 
in others. Nor are the rain and dew, or the amount of 



cultivation, equal.' 17 For the same reason, we find that most 
children are good in the good years and bad in the bad 
years. But this is not because their natural powers are 
different in different times, but because the change of cir- 
cumstances has made them what they are. 

Master Meng, it seems, was particularly sensitive to the 
influence of environment on man's natural growth. This, 
indeed, is not surprising when we recall the great care with 
which he was brought up by his mother, who moved three 
times in order to give him the best possible living conditions. 
Moreover, did not Master K'ung once say, 'It is the moral 
character of a neighbourhood that constitutes its excellence? 
How can he be considered wise who does not elect to dwell 
in moral surroundings ?' 18 

In this connexion Master Meng charged that the kings 
with whom he had come into contact were most of them un- 
wise, because they chose to surround themselves with people 
who were depraved and wicked. Just as in the case of a 
plant which, however hardy it may be, can never survive 
ten days' cold after only one day of warmth, so there can 
never be a ruler who, habitually surrounded by corrupt 
officials, can yet benefit by occasional words of wisdom. 'My 
visits to the king are few and far between,' Master Meng 
once remarked quite unhappily, 'and as soon as I leave, he 
is overrun with people who act upon him like cold upon 
plants. Though I may succeed in bringing up a sprout here 
and there, what good can it do?' 19 

From this it will be seen that Master Meng believed it 
important for a sovereign to have around him men of virtue, 
who could influence him to be good. To illustrate this point 
he made what is in our opinion one of the best observations 
on learning a foreign language - an observation that still 
has in it a ring of truth to-day. To understand it, we must 
first point out that China in those days was divided into a 
number of states whose people spoke dialects considerably 
different from one another. Hence northerners like the 
people of Ch'i would have a difficult time understanding the 
people of Gh'u from the far south, and vice versa. 



Now, according to Master Meng, suppose here in Gh'i 
was an envoy from Ch'u who wanted his son to learn the 
speech of Ch'i. To accomplish this aim the question is, 
whom should he employ to teach his son, a man of Ch'i or 
a man of Ch'u? Of course, the former. But even this would 
not do, for with only one man teaching the boy the Ch'i 
language, and the rest of the time all the Ch 4 u men continu- 
ally shouting at him in his own dialect, the boy would never 
be able to learn the language even though hi* father beat 
him every day. On the other hand, if the boy lived alone in 
the interior of Ch'i for several years without meeting any of 
his countrymen, he would speak no other language but Ch'i, 
and even though his father beat him daily, he would not be 
able to make him forget it. 

The moral of the story, of course, is that if all those in 
attendance on the king were men of integrity, the king 
could not be otherwise than good. On the other hand, if all 
his officers were wicked, there would be little chance of the 
king's being able to remain virtuous. 

6. Three Treasures of a Prince 

THIS discussion of the king and his ministers leads us to the 
problem of good government, or, as Master Meng called it, 
*humane (jen) government'. While basing his theory of 
government on Master K'ung, Meng K'o was able to 
elaborate on his predecessor's view with some of his own 
ideas that were startlingly new. For one thing, Master 
Meng's attitude towards the Ghou sovereigns was different 
from that of Master K'ung. Living some hundred and fifty 
years later, at a time when the feudal structure had all but 
crumbled, Master Meng felt no lingering respect or loyalty 
for the reigning house of Ghou. Instead, he preached that 
any of the seven powers of his time, or even the lesser states, 
could assume 'kingly sway', a favourite term of his, if its 
rulers would only follow the principles of good govern- 
ment that Master Meng himself had laid down. If 
Master K'ung had fondly dreamed of restoring the Ghou 


authority, Master Meng certainly had no such feudal 

The time, moreover, was ripe for the rise of a new Son of 
Heaven to assume sway over all the Chinese states. As 
Master Meng expressed it, 'Never was there a time so devoid 
of a true sovereign as at present; never was there a time 
when people suffered more from tyrannical rule. We all 
know that the hungry are easily fed and the thirsty easily 
slaked. Master K'ung once said, "The spread of virtue is 
more rapid than the transmission of imperial orders by 
stages and couriers." So now, if humane government were 
practised in a country of ten thousand chariots, its people 
would be as pleased as men relieved from hanging by their 
heels. It is only in times like these that, with only half the 
labour of the ancients, one can achieve twice as much/ 20 
Indeed, for a prince endowed with a humane heart and 
practising humane government, the rule of the world would 
be as easy as turning things around in the palm of his hand. 

A great political philosopher, Meng K'o was much more 
specific and advanced than K'ung Ch'iu in his principles of 
government. As mentioned above, he was mainly concerned 
with improving the people's lot by means of reforms such as 
land tenure, reduction of taxes, and what we might call old 
age pensions. Living in the midst of suffering and starva- 
tion, he must have been especially impressed by the scenes 
of wretched humanity around him. So he conceived of 
government as fundamentally a question of political 
economy, the key to which was the amelioration of the 
people's living conditions. 

Considered in this light, the way of good government, as 
taught by Master Meng, was not difficult to attain. It con- 
sisted, first, in honouring men of worth and employing 
those who were capable; second, in lightening levies on 
marketable goods; third, in abolishing tolls and duties to 
facilitate travel; fourth, in restoring the 'well-field' system of 
farming, 21 instead of taxing the farmers on their produce; 
and fifth, in sparing the tradespeople from miscellaneous 
contributions and fines. 


As we can easily see, all these measures, with the excep- 
tion of the first, were aimed at reducing the heavy taxation 
on peasants and merchants, thereby rescuing them from 
their desperate condition. For the same reason, Master 
Meng advocated the reduction to a minimum of the king's 
pleasure parks and hunting grounds, the use of conscripted 
labour for public works only at slack agricultural seasons, 
and the abolition of cruel penalties. Master Meng believed 
that if reforms like these could be successfully carried out 
the king would not only have contented people at home, but 
he would also be able to attract people from neighbouring 
states, who 'would look up to him as to a father'. 22 And 
with a large population, which was one of the three trea- 
sures of a prince, the other two being land and good ad- 
ministration, the country could not but grow rich and 
strong. With such success, who would be able to prevent it 
from attaining a kingly sway over the other states, the am- 
bition of all the rulers of this period ? 

In another passage, which is deservedly famous, Master 
Meng set forth even more graphically the implements of 
government, including the institution of public support for 
the aged and moral instruction for the young. Chiefly con- 
cerned with the life of the farmers, who constituted the main 
bulk of the Chinese population, Master Meng advised King 
Hui of Liang as follows: 'If the farmer's seasons are not 
interfered with (i.e. by wur or conscription), there will be 
more grain in the land than can be consumed. If close- 
meshed nets are not allowed in the pools and lakes, there 
will be more fish and turtles than are required for food. If 
the axe is brought to the forest only at the proper time, the 
supply of timber will exceed the demand. Having more 
grain and fish than they can eat, and more timber than they 
can use, the people will be able to feed the living and bury 
the dead without undue worry and vexation. To ensure this 
for his people is the first duty of a king. 

'Let homesteads of five mu be planted with mulberry, so 
that all persons over fifty may be able to wear silk. Let the 
proper seasons be observed in the breeding of poultry, dogs, 



and swine, so that all persons over seventy may be able to 
eat meat. Let a farm of a hundred mu not be robbed of its 
labour, so that a family of eight mouths may never go 
hungry. Let attention be paid to teaching in schools, with 
special regard to the duties of sons and brothers; then white- 
haired men will not be seen carrying loads on the high 
roads. No ruler under whom the aged wear silk and eat 
meat, and the common people suffer neither from hunger 
nor cold, has ever failed to become king of the whole 
country.' 23 

But what was the actual state of affairs in Meng K'o's 
time ? With bold and vigorous words he blamed the king for 
the sad plight of the people : 'Now dogs and swine eat the 
food of men, and you know not how to stop the waste. On 
the roads people are starving to death, and you know not 
how to relieve them out of your store. When they die you 
say "It is not my fault; it is due to the bad year"; a plea no 
better than if you stabbed a man to death and then said, "It 
was not I that did it, it was the knife." Do not lay the blame 
on the harvest, O King, and you will find the people of the 
whole world flocking to you. 5 24 

7. The Mandate of Heaven 

IN these feudal times Master Meng had the distinction of 
being a true democrat, and indeed almost a radical in po- 
litical thought. Carried to its logical conclusion, his cham- 
pionship of the people's welfare made him at the same time 
an advocate of the people's supremacy. In a startling state- 
ment he said, 'The people rank highest in a state, the spirits 
of the Land and Grain come next, and the sovereign is of 
the least account.' 25 

This unusual remark, while it must have struck the ortho- 
dox ear of Meng K'o's contemporaries like a thunderbolt, 
still sounds extremely modern to us across the centuries. It 
deviated radically from Master K'ung's political dogma, 
according to which, as was also the actual practice of 
those days, the sovereign was the all-powerful overlord of 



the people. Of course, Master K ung might have conceded 
that the people's confidence in their ruler was an important 
factor in government; but he would never go so far as Master 
Meng to assert that the common people, most of them serfs, 
should be more highly regarded than their great lords. 
While following in the footsteps of his great predecessor, 
Master Meng, it seems, had advanced by leaps and bounds 
from the feudal ideas that had been rapidly breaking down 
during the time of the Warring States. 

This did not mean, however, that Master Meng was a 
revolutionist who broke away entirely from tradition. On 
the contrary, he felt keenly the necessity of finding some au- 
thority on which to base his new democracy. And he found 
it in the Classic of History, in which occurred the phrase *the 
Mandate of Heaven', a political creed of the Chou people 
sanctioned by Master K'ung himself. Originally, this con- 
ception went back to the Sinitic belief in Heaven as a ruling 
deity, whose sway extended over all creation. But since 
Heaven could not deal directly with the myriad creatures 
and especially with men, he appointed as his deputy on 
earth a line of kings to rule in his name. These were, figura- 
tively speaking, the Sons of Heaven. But later, if some of 
their descendants should prove unacceptable to Heaven be- 
cause of their wickedness and cruelty, he would transfer his 
mandate to another house, noted for its great virtue, to form 
a new line of kings. It was in this way, so the Chou people 
contended, that their royal house thrived on the ruins of the 
Shang dynasty. 

The Mandate of Heaven - what a revealing phrase! And 
was it not said in one of those historical documents that 
'Heaven sees as the people see, and Heaven hears even as 
the people hear?' 26 Heaven, the great deity, of course, did 
not talk, but his dictates were clearly discernible in the 
trends of historical events and human deeds. Moreover, 
there was an even surer sign of Heaven's pleasure and dis- 
pleasure towards a ruler - it was manifested in the will of the 
people. Take, for instance, the sage-king Shun. Though of 
humble origin, he was made king because people wished him 


to be a ruler. And when Shun was accepted by the people, 
he was also accepted by Heaven. The people's will, there- 
fore, was also the tangible expression of Heaven's will on 

As a logical conclusion to the above observation, the right 
to govern, so Meng K'o asserted, depended upon the con- 
sent of the governed; and a ruler who had lost the confi- 
dence of his people would also lose the Mandate of Heaven. 
This point was made clear by Meng K'o when he told King 
Hsiian of Ch'i that a monarch who trod on virtue and threw 
away his moral obligations forfeited at the same time his 
divine right as a king. Such being the case, the people had 
the right to get rid of him as they would any undesirable 
individual. Thus referring to Chou Hsin, a wicked ruler and 
the last of the house of Shang, Master Meng observed, 'He 
who acts in defiance of the highest moral ideals (jeri) is a 
rascal; he who outrages the principle of honour (yi) is a 
knave. The man who acts as a rascal and knave is properly 
described as a contemptible ruffian. I have heard about the 
killing of a ruffian named Chou; I have not heard of putting 
a sovereign to death.' 27 

As a matter of fact, the right to dispose of a wicked king, 
whom Master Meng would not recognize as king, rested not 
only with the people but with the ministers as well. Of 
course, if the prince should treat his subordinates as his 
hands and feet, they in turn would rely on him as their 
belly and heart. 'But,' Master Meng continued, 'when the 
lord looks on his lieges as his dogs and horses, then they may 
regard him as merely one of their fellows ; and if the lord 
treats them as if they were grass and dirt, then they may re- 
gard him as a brigand and an enemy.' 28 In this connexion, 
Master Meng also maintained that, if after repeated re- 
monstrances the king still failed to mend his ways, the 
ministers who were related to him by blood had the right 
and duty to dethrone him. Is it any wonder that at these 
words the King of Chi's countenance fell ? 

The love of war was the chief fault of the sovereigns of the 
period. At least, that was what Meng K'o believed, and he, 



like most philosophers of the time, was vehement in his de- 
nunciation of those who loved war. He attacked King Hui 
of Liang for driving his people, and even his own son, to 
death on the battle-field. He branded as criminal those 
military experts who were skilful in marshalling troops and 
conducting battles. Referring to Master K'ung's condemna- 
tion of Jan Ch'iu for his part in collecting oppressive taxes 
from the people, Master Meng said, 'Thus we see that those 
who seek to enrich a prince, whose government is not be- 
nevolent, are condemned by Master K'ung; how much 
more should those be condemned who fight for their prince 
in an unjust cause ? When land is the cause of contention, 
corpses fill the fields; when a city is the cause of contention, 
corpses fill the space within the walls. This is teaching the 
very soil beneath us to devour human flesh - a crime for 
which no death can atone. 5 29 'Therefore, I say,' Master 
Meng continued, 'those who make fighting their trade 
should suffer the severest punishment; those who organize 
the feudal lords for aggression should come next; and last, 
those who force the people to till uncultivated land for the 
ruler's benefit.' 30 

Thus fought Master Meng spiritedly in his crusade against 
the merciless killing which was the order of the day. Like 
Hsiang Shu, who had launched the world's first peace con- 
ference 200 years earlier, 31 Master Meng was a passionate 
advocate of peace. But, needless to say, his efforts failed as 
they were bound to do. Things worsened after his death in 
289 B.C., with the new century becoming progressively even 
more bloodthirsty and ruthless. Nevertheless, Master Meng 
had succeeded in imprinting on the minds of his followers an 
idealistic teaching with its emphasis on democratic thinking 
as well as on man's inborn goodness and his position in so- 
ciety. It was not long before it became, in addition to the 
teachings of Master K'ung, a part of that most valuable 
philosophical heritage that ancient China has bequeathed 
to mankind. 

Chapter Six 


i. Master Hstin, the Magistrate of Lan-ling 

AFTER the death of Meng K'o the mantle of the K'ung 
school fell on Hsiin Gh'ing, another great champion of tao. 
Hsiin Ch'ing was born in the northern state of Chao, quite 
far from Lu, the original seat of Ju tradition. The date of his 
birth is a despair to all lovers of exact chronology, and sur- 
mises made by scholars range widely between the forty and 
more years from 340 to 298 B.C. 1 Equally obscure are the 
events of Hsiin Ch'ing's life. The only thing we know is that 
he was practically unknown, like Meng K'o, in the first fifty 
years of his life - presumably a period of preparation. Then, 
emerging from his seclusion, he travelled to Ch'i, the great 
intellectual centre of the age, to learn from a group of 
academicians who had gathered at its capital below the 
Gate of Grain. There Hsiin Ch'ing soon attained great fame 
and, as the most honoured of the scholars, acted three times 
in the capacity of a libation officer at the great temple sacri- 
fices. Later, after the dispersal of the scholars from Ch'i in 
protest against its militant policy, Hsiin Ch'ing also left Ch'i 
and went to Ch'in, where he had an audience with its king; 
but he failed to get any preferment in that state. So he left 
Ch'in and returned to Chao, his native state. 

There is an interesting record of Hsiin Ch'ing's meeting 
with King Hsiao-cheng of Chao, in whose presence he en- 
gaged with a general of the king's army in a debate on mili- 
tary affairs. Brushing aside the general's views on military 
strategy, Hsiin Ch'ing, the K'ung scholar, asserted that the 
art of war consisted primarily in getting the support of the 
people, who were potential soldiers, and that deceitful tac- 
tics should be replaced by the practice of human-hearted- 
ness and righteousness, which were essential to winning a 



campaign. As a matter of fact, he succeeded so well in con- 
vincing the king and the general of the soundness of his 
argument that they both listened very attentively, often 
nodding their heads in approbation. 

Hsiin Ch'ing, however, does not seem to have made head- 
way anywhere in these states. Thus disillusioned, he was 
content in the last years of his life to accept a minor position 
from the government of Ch'u, and for many years of his life 
was the magistrate of Lan-ling, a Lu city newly conquered 
by Ch'u. There he gathered around him a group of young 
men, some of whom rose to eminence as scholars and poli- 
ticians. Master Hsiin himself died about 235 B.C., a much- 
beloved old man whose popularity among the people of 
Lan-ling outlived him for a number of years. 

To Hsiin Ch'ing are credited thirty-three essays of lasting 
fame. They show him as a prose master, a profound thinker, 
and, most of all, an energetic defender of the Ju dogma. 

2. The Great 6 Weaklings 9 

HSUN CH'ING lived at a time when the 'hundred schools' 
of philosophy flourished and, like Meng K'o, had to uphold 
his own teaching by attacking that of others. In an essay 
entitled *Against the Twelve Masters' he launched an all-out 
onslaught on his contemporaries, including not only rival 
philosophers such as the Taoists, the Mohists, and the Lo- 
gicians, but also the prominent members of his own school 
like Tzu-ssu and Meng K'o. Even the immediate disciples 
of Master K'ung, such as Tzu-chang, Tzu-hsia, and Tzu-yu, 
were not spared from his fiery pen. 2 But as a result of this 
indiscriminate attack on foes and friends alike he made him- 
self unpopular among his own school, and suffered conse- 
quently in the judgement of posterity, who came to accept 
Tzu-ssu and Meng K'o as heirs to the great tradition. As we 
can easily see, this dissension, besides showing the deep 
cleavage that had split the K'ung school into different 
groups, also reveals the bitterness of the philosophical con- 
troversy that raged at the close of the feudal period. 


A penetrating critic, Hsiin Ch'ing was able to dispose of 
his enemies in 'the erring schools of philosophy' with a few 
incisive words. He thus denounced Mo Ti as prejudiced to- 
wards utility to the neglect of culture, Chuang Chou as 
prejudiced towards nature to the neglect of man, and Hui 
Shih as prejudiced towards words to the neglect of reality. 
Such succinct phrases hit the vulnerable spots of the rival 
systems, whose teachers appeared ridiculously narrow- 
minded when compared with those of the K'ung school. 
'Those who have partial knowledge,' declared Master Hsiin, 
'perceive one aspect of the way (to), but they fail to know 
its totality. So they think it sufficient to gloss things over. 
Being confused themselves, they also mislead others. . . . 
This is indeed a great misfortune brought about by ignor- 
ance and prejudice.' 3 

In Hsiin Ch'ing's opinion, Master K'ung, on the other 
hand, was human and wise. Himself a sage, his virtue was 
equal to that of Duke Chou, and his fame abreast of the 
sage-kings of antiquity. In fact, his was the only school 
which possessed the whole of the great way and which suc- 
ceeded in carrying it out in practical living. But, unfortun- 
ately, not all its followers were like their sage master. Gener- 
ally speaking, they could be divided, according to Hsiin 
Ch'ing, into three types: the vulgar Ju, who made their 
living by selling superficial and often erroneous ideas; the 
good Ju, who were true followers of tao but who lacked the in- 
telligence to achieve perfection; and lastly, the great Ju, who 
were perfect in their conduct, superior in their knowledge of 
the true way, and when in office capable of achieving order 
and unification for the whole world. Apparently, it was with 
the last group that Master Hsiin wished to identify himself. 

When King Chao of Ch'in asked him whether the Ju were 
of any use to society, Master Hsiin immediately gave a glori- 
fied account of his profession by telling the king the many 
merits of a great Ju. The latter, so Master Hsiin affirmed, 
'when placed in a superior position, had the capacities of a 
king or prince, and when in a subordinate position was a 
trusty monitor of the state and truly a treasure of the 


sovereign. And even though he should retire to a lowly 
hamlet, he would still be esteemed by every one for holding 
sincerely to the true path.' 4 Therefore, in whichever posi- 
tion he was, a great Ju was sure to distinguish himself, to 
renovate the people, to adorn the court, and, if he were a 
ruler himself - note well that here the Ju has been exalted 
to the ruling class - to rule his state so well that *all within 
the four seas would be like one family.' 5 

Thus in his enthusiastic defence of Ju, a name originally 
intended as a ridicule of the ceremonial professionals of the 
K'ung school, Hsiin Ch'ing gave it such lofty attributes that 
it was henceforth no longer a term of contempt but a title 
of great honour coveted by all. The change was now com- 
plete when the great 'weaklings' became the great scholars. 

3. Religion divorced from Philosophy 

TAKEN as a whole, the teachings of Masters Meng and 
Hsiin were not as widely different as they first appeared. 
On the contrary, their difference was mainly one of interpre- 
tation and emphasis. To state it briefly, whereas Master 
Meng elaborated on the idealistic portions of the Ju doc- 
trine by exalting the supreme virtues of human-heartedness 
and righteousness, Master Hsiin took over as his chief tenet; 
the more practical aspects of the Ju teaching, such as rites 
and music. But in order to do so, especially in an age when 
sound reasoning was pre-requisite to all philosophical dis- 
courses, Hsiin Ch'ing had to give not only an historical 
justification of his ideas as Master K'ung had done before, 
but also a new logical basis for his assertions. Thus, while 
maintaining that man, essentially a social animal, had to 
make his own efforts for self-improvement and adjustment 
to society, Master Hsiin also set out to prove that the salva- 
tion of man lay in himself alone, and not, as religious people 
would say, in Heaven. Indeed, Master Hsiin had no such 
religious scruples, and it was his disbelief in Heaven's dis- 
pensations that had convinced him of the necessity of man's 
own exertions. 



Historically speaking, the religious faith of the Ghou 
people, which culminated in their belief in Heaven's power 
over man, had been greatly shaken during the 200 years or 
more between Masters K'ung and Hsiin. As we know, even 
Master K'ung was not a religious man himself, and though 
he often spoke of Heaven's commissions and appointments 
he seldom openly declared his faith. As for Master Meng, 
he was only interested in the Mandate of Heaven as a 
measure useful to his political theorizing. Now, in the hands 
of Master Hsiin, Heaven, who was once the almighty an- 
thromorphic god, became so depersonalized that he was no 
longer regarded as a powerful influence on man's life. 

How all these changes came about can best be told by a 
review of the philosophical tendencies of the time. The 
period of the Warring States, as we have noted before, was 
a period of great confusion and change in man's conceptions 
of life and the universe. The constant wars, with their 
attendant destruction of life and property, and the untold 
misery of the common people, must have weighed heavily 
on the mind of every thinking man as he began to doubt 
whether after all there was any justice in the world. In an 
age when the good suffered along with the wicked, men were 
apt to be disillusioned and sceptical. Hence the question 
was: If Heaven were the great benign god that he was said 
to be, why was it that he allowed mankind to wallow in such 
deep misery without extending a helping hand ? Or could 
it be that after all Heaven was not such a mighty god as re- 
puted, and that he did not play such an important role in 
man's life as was once imagined? 

Living at a time when religion failed to inspire, Hsiin 
Ch'ing became a confessed agnostic. In this he seemed to be 
more in line with the Taoist than the orthodox school, to 
which he belonged. For Hsiin Ch'ing believed with Lao-tzu 
that Heaven was no more than the unvarying law of nature, 
and that all changes in the universe such as the movement 
of the stars, the alteration of the sun and moon, the succes- 
sion of the seasons, etc., were the operations of that great 
law. 'The results of these changes we know/ Master Hsiin 



wrote, 'but we do not know their invisible source - these are 
the workings of Heaven, which a sage does not seek to 
know.' 6 Moreover, according to Master Hsiin, these strange 
phenomena of nature had nothing to do with man's activi- 
ties; nor did prodigious signs portend evil. 'The falling of 
stars and the groaning of trees are but natural disturbances 
caused by the modification of Heaven and Earth, the muta- 
tion of theyin andyang,' Master Hsiin assured us. 'These are 
uncommon events. We may marvel at them, but we should 
not fear them. When ominous signs come from man himself, 
then we should be really afraid.' 7 

Master Hsiin believed that it was man himself, and not 
Heaven, who was responsible for his own life as well as the 
prosperity and calamity that came to him. 'If the right way 
of life is cultivated,' Master Hsiin maintained, 'then Heaven 
cannot send misfortune; flood and drought cannot cause 
famine; extreme cold or heat cannot cause suffering; super- 
natural powers cannot cause calamity.' 8 On the other hand, 
if man should neglect his duty and act contrary to the way 
of life, then even Heaven would be helpless to help him, and 
he would have only himself to blame. 

As a matter of fact, Hsiin Ch'ing had so reinterpreted the 
orthodox doctrine that he finally succeeded in doing away 
altogether with whatever modicum of superstition there had 
been in the ancient Chinese thought. He questioned, as 
Master K'ung had before him, the efficacy of prayer. Why 
should people pray for rain? he asked. It would rain, any- 
way, whether people prayed or not. He also discredited 
fortune-telling arid physiognomy; he had no use for divina- 
tion; and, like Master K'ung, he considered destiny as de- 
pending on human action. The spirits," he thought, were 
mostly the children of one's imagination. He therefore ridi- 
culed the superstitious fellow who beat the drum and sacri- 
ficed a suckling pig to appease the evil ones that had caused, 
so the man believed, his rheumatism. It was too bad, 
Master Hsiin said sneeringly, that the fellow should lose his 
pig and wear out his drum in this way without getting the 
happiness of recovering from his disease. 9 



Jn another story, Master Hsiin told the sad plight of a 
timorous man out walking in the moonlight. His mind being 
beset by weird tales, the man fancied he had walked into a 
world of spirits and goblins. Stooping down, he saw his 
shadow and took it to be a crouching devil; looking up, he 
caught sight of his hair and took it to be a forest demon. 
Thus haunted by the creations of his credulous mind, he 
turned back and ran for his life. But before he reached home 
the poor fellow lost his breath and died. 'A very distressing 
affair, this!' 10 commented our philosopher. 

Hence, by rejecting such supernatural beliefs and fruitless 
speculations, Master Hsiin succeeded in completing the 
process of divorcing religion from philosophy, which had its 
beginning in Master K'ung. This was a very laudable 
undertaking, which had a significant bearing on the de- 
velopment of Chinese thought throughout the centuries. It 
also had serious repercussions, for from now on religion had 
to go underground, so to speak, and never again would it 
become the chief concern of Chinese intellectuals except for 
a few erratic souls. Ancestor worship, to be sure, was still 
practised, but it was more of a social affair, a sort of family 
reunion between the dead and the living, than a purely re- 
ligious act. So, while religious faith was being discarded by 
the scholars, superstition was growing rampant among the 
unenlightened masses, who took it as an integral part of 
their belief. On the other hand, religion as a motivating 
force in man's intellectual and spiritual life had long been 
dead and buried. Even its revival under Buddhism in the 
later centuries was half-hearted and short-lived. The 
Chinese people lost their spiritual faith in Hsiin Ch'ing's 
time, and they have not yet found it. 

4. Human Nature is Evil 

ANOTHER startling idea of Hsiin Ch'ing's is that human 
nature is evil. It is here that he ran counter to Meng K'o, 
who maintained the view of man's original goodness. Ever 
since then, the controversy of the two teachers has been a 


matter of intense discussion among Chinese scholars, and a 
countless number of essays have been written on the sub- 
ject. The battle royal reached its climax in the twelfth 
century, when the followers of Meng K'o ultimately tri- 
umphed. They then deposed the rival philosopher from the 
important position he had occupied in the K'ung school. It 
was ironical, therefore, that Hsiin Ch'ing, the former cham- 
pion of the Ju school, should be declared an outcast by the 
same group of people whose forbears he had once so ardently 

It is obvious why Master Hsiin had no illusions about hu- 
man nature in the raw. His belief in the evil nature of man 
was influenced by the unhappy events that occurred daily 
around him. For who could deny that strife, corruption, and 
rapacity were not running riot in Master Hsiin's time ? And, 
moreover, were not men addicted to the love of profit and 
sensual pleasures as Master Hsun declared? With all these 
glaring facts before him and his mind constantly affected by 
them, Master Hsiin had to admit that the nature of man was 
evil and that his goodness was acquired. This being his 
thesis, he wrote : 

Let us consider now human nature. By birth men possess the 
passion for profit. When they obey this passion, the result is quar- 
relling and grabbing to the utter detriment of mutual considera- 
tion and forbearance. By birth men envy and hate. When they 
obey this passion, the result is killing and injury to the utter detri- 
ment of loyalty and mutual confidence. By birth men have the lusts 
of the ear and eye, and a passion for the beauty of the human voice 
and figure. When they follow these lusts, the result is licence and 
anarchy to the detriment of ritual and righteousness, of culture and 
reason. Thus, if men give rein to their congenital nature and obey 
their instinctive emotions, the outcome, of necessity, is quarrelling 
and grabbing, a common opposing of culture and confounding of 
reason, and the arrival at an unmitigated state of violence. 11 

Then he made a direct attack on Meng K'o, accusing the 
latter of failing to understand human nature, of failing to 
distinguish between what is congenial and acquired. He 

S.H.C.P. Q*7 


wrote: 'What belongs to the original nature is from Heaven. 
It cannot be learned, nor can it be worked for: whereas, the 
rules of ritual and righteousness which sage-kings formu- 
lated are what men have to learn and work for if they are to 
become morally capable and arrive at completion.' 12 It is 
interesting to note here that Master Hsiin attributed to 
Heaven the source of men's congenital nature, which he be- 
lieved to be evil. We wonder which conception of Heaven 
he had in mind when he made that statement: was it the 
anthromorphic god or the law of nature ? In either case, he 
was certainly guilty of blasphemy, and it is no wonder that 
he was at last ousted from the orthodox school, which be- 
lieved both in the benignity of Heaven and the goodness of 
man's nature. 

But, as mentioned above, Master Hsiin had reasons for 
his assertion, with which he was making out a case to prove 
the necessity of regulating desires by moral education. For 
he believed that human nature, though inherently evil, was 
nevertheless capable of improvement. Man, indeed, was en- 
dowed at his birth with intelligence, and this intelligence 
enabled him to transform the crude materials of his nature 
into a mature, refined personality through the process of 
cultivation. Thus, according to Master Hsiin, what one 
needed was constant practice in the 'way of ritual and 
righteousness', which alone could teach one to be virtuous, 
thereby bringing one 'to a state of moral order'. 13 

5. Making Poetry of Daily Life 

FROM what has been said above we can easily see that both 
Masters Hsiin and Meng, though proceeding from a different 
starting point, had arrived at the same goal of moral perfec- 
tion which had also been Master K'ung's. But here again we 
must admit that the two later philosophers did not take the 
same road to achieve their goal. To Master Hsiin, at least, the 
most direct way was the good old way of ritual (li) and music, 
and to these he now turned in his philosophical quest. 

The origin and evolution of li as a refining influence on 



Chinese society has a history as old as that of the country it- 
self. It suffices to mention here Hsiin Ch'ing's view and his 
elaboration of its meaning. First of all, it should be pointed 
out that, whereas Master Meng and the followers of his 
humanistic school regarded li as a mere outgrowth of the 
inner spirit of jen, Master Hsiin, on the other hand, con- 
sidered li as the most effective means of counteracting what 
he alleged to be the inherent baseness of human nature. It 
was, he believed, only through the beautiful artificial influ- 
ence of ceremonials, which edified and nourished, that man 
could mend and refine his rough nature and, by so doing, 
live properly and harmoniously in a well-ordered society. 

We are now not far from the psychological basis of Master 
Hsiin's teaching. According to him, desire with which man 
was born created wants, and wants unsatisfied bred conflict 
and disorder, which in turn caused all the troubles of this 
world. Hence the conclusion was that man's desires, base 
and insatiable if left to their own course, should be properly 
guided and restrained. And what measure could be more 
effective for the building up of a perfect character than the 
rules of propriety embodied in the social and religious cere- 
monies ? 'Li arises from the necessity of regulating human 
desires/ 14 so Master Hsiin affirmed. Moreover, he also be- 
lieved that li had its historical justification, for it was estab- 
lished by the 'wise men of old 5 and practised by princes and 
scholars alike. Hence, no matter how much the times had 
changed, /, though changing with the times, never deviated 
from its original purpose as a guiding principle to man's 
erring nature. 

An enthusiastic advocate, Master Hsiin praised li in glow- 
ing words : 'Perfect indeed is li (as a sacramental act symbol- 
izing) the heavens and earth in their harmony, the sun and 
moon in their splendour, the four seasons in their succession, 
the stars in their movements, the rivers and streams in their 
flow, the myriad creatures in their abundance, liking and 
disliking in due (expression), delight and vexation with fit- 
ting (force), in the lower orders of society (the expression of) 
obedience, in the higher orders (the expression of) shining 



intelligence, with all creations (unceasingly) changing, yet 
without confusion, for if the unity of creation were lost, the 
loss would be irredeemable.' 16 In his eulogy of li as the acme 
of human perfection Master Hsiin rose to the realm of 
poetry, and a poet he certainly was. 

As a matter of fact, it was this poetic temperament that 
had made Master Hsiin so irreconcilable to the teachings of 
Mo Ti, the most prosaic of the ancient Chinese philosophers. 
So in his defence of mourning and sacrificial rites, de- 
nounced by the utilitarians as extravagant, Master Hsiin 
made his appeal to the readers' emotions. He reminded them 
of the fact that these practices were originally the expression 
of man's affectionate yearning for the dead, 'the piling up of 
memories and intentions, of thoughts and longings.' 16 Seen 
in this light, a sacrifice represented the height of faithfulness 
and love, and 'the completion of propriety and refine- 
ment', 17 just as the three years' mourning was the proper 
channel through which men gave vent to their deep, incon- 
solable sorrows. 

In Master Hsiin's opinion, therefore, all these sacra- 
mental acts should be conducted in their proper form so as 
to beautify death and thereby lessen its ugliness, to beautify 
sorrow and thereby heal its wounds, to beautify the feeling 
of reverence by serving the dead as if serving the living. It is 
in this way that emotion and art are synchronized in ritual, 
which, in addition to making poetry of daily life, is also in 
the hands of the ruler 'the highest administrative duty, the 
source of a country's strength, the way of majesty in action, 
and the guiding principle of honour.' 18 Taken all in all, is 
not li the greatest of principles, and the virtue that embraces 
every other ethical concept? 

6. An Expression of Joy 

BEING poetic-minded, Hsiin Ch'ing found great joy and in- 
spiration in music. In this he was a worthy disciple of Master 
K'ung, who, we know, had an ear for music and taught it as 
a transforming influence on man's life. As one of the six arts 



cultivated by the Chou aristocracy, music had occupied an 
important position in the classic curriculum, but in the post- 
Ghou periods it degenerated even among the scholars of the 
K'ung school. The Classic oj AfvifV, one of the six Chou 
canons, is lost to posterity, and it is only in the works of 
Hsun Gh'ing that we can reconstruct the part played by 
music as a beautiful ritualistic experience and a communal 
entertainment in ancient times. 

Following in the footsteps of Master K'ung, Master Hsun 
taught that music, as an expression of human emotion, was 
essential to society. Together with ritual, the two being in- 
separable as a powerful educative force, music helped to 
form or transform man's character. Good music, character- 
ized by Master Hsun as 'the inner bond of harmony', could 
stir up goodness in people's hearts and thereby keep them 
away from evil influences. 'Music,' wrote Master Hsun, 'is 
an expression of joy, 19 an irrepressible part of human emo- 
tion. Men cannot be without happiness, and happiness in- 
variably breaks out in voice and finds expression in move- 
ments. ... If these expressions are not properly directed, 
riots invariably result. In view of this, the ancient kings in- 
vented musical notes so that the sounds might express hap- 
piness but excite no riot, . . . and that composition and or- 
chestration might inspire good thoughts and suppress evil 
notions.' 20 

Consequently, musical performances in the ancestral 
temples, in the inner apartments, and in the village squares 
were occasions on which the feelings of reverence, affection, 
and obedience were inspired among the audience. 'Thus 
music unites to establish harmony, compares to enrich its 
notes, and orchestrates to create beauty. While leading in 
one direction, it regulates the myriad changes.' 21 Its influ- 
ence being profound, music was therefore an important 
means by which a ruler governed his people. And just as 
good music tended to make people orderly and harmonious, 
so licentious music endangered the country by causing its 
people to degenerate. That was the reason why the ancients 
were so careful in musical compositions. 

S H.C.P. I Q I D 


Master Hsiin also gave us a good description of the vari- 
ous instruments used in ancient China. While discoursing on 
the moral effects of music, he wrote, 'The drum is the king 
of the orchestra; the bells are the perfect rulers; the stone 
chimes discriminate and regulate; the reed organs are 
reverent and harmonious; the flageolets and flute give 
volume ; the ocarina and the bamboo flutes are excellent and 
beautiful. And while singing represents the perfection of 
clarity, dancing symbolizes the way of Heaven.' 22 

In another passage Master Hsun showed that he too was 
a happy connoisseur of dancing, for which he had the 
highest regard. He wrote graphically on the art of dancing: 
'The dancer's eyes do not look at himself, and his ears do not 
listen to himself; yet he controls the lowering and raising of 
his head, the bending and straightening of his body, his ad- 
vancing and retreating, his slow and rapid movements - 
everything is thus well regulated. He exerts all the strength 
of his body to keep time with the beat of the drum and the 
sound of bells, and never for a moment would he dance out 
of tune or move contrary to the rhythmic measures.' 23 

7. The Philosophy of Culture 

FROM what we know of his teaching Hsiin Ch'ing was defi- 
nitely the most orthodox of the Ju scholars. Though occa- 
sionally advancing ideas of his own, such as his theory of 
human nature and his disbelief in religion, he was neverthe- 
less at heart a thorough traditionalist. As a political thinker, 
he upheld the feudal ideals and institutions that Master 
K'ung handed down. In ethics he was an indefatigable 
transmitter of the great truth not the metaphysical Too, 
which is the way of Heaven, but the ethical tao, which is the 
way of man. Moreover, Hsiin Ch'ing was profoundly con- 
vinced of the necessity of law and authority in a well- 
ordered society. Oftentimes, carried away by the force of 
conviction, he erred rather on the side of conservatism. 

Compared with the more advanced ideas of Meng K'o, 
who was undoubtedly the greatest political genius that 



ancient China produced, Hsiin Ch'ing's views appeared 
especially reactionary. It was for this that he was known 
among his fellow philosophers as an authoritarian, which he 
certainly was. In fact, his conservatism, his insistence on 
established authority, and his belief in moral order made 
him a true catholic of the K'ung school. But, on the other 
hand, his beautification of ritual, music, and dancing 
showed him the possessor of a poetic instinct which con- 
siderably mollified the rigidity of his creed. 

As mentioned above, the masters Hsun and Meng each 
specialized in one of the two main branches of study in the 
K'ung school, namely, the ceremonial and the humanistic. 
Just as Master Meng followed directly Master K'ung's later 
disciples like Tseng Ts'an and Tzii-ssu in their emphasis on 
humane ideals and human relationships, so Master Hsun 
followed Master K'img's earlier disciples like Tzu-kung and 
others, who found in ceremonials and music their major 
interest. These subjects, we remember, were also the starting 
point from which Master K'ung himself embarked on his 
career as a teacher, and the foundation on which he built 
his ethical and political system. In this sense Hsun Ch'ing 
was truly a loyal follower of his great Master. 

Nevertheless, the division in the K'ung school was by no 
means as hard and fast as it sounds. It did not prevent 
Master Hsun, for instance, from discoursing on moral sub- 
jects such as honour and shame, educational subjects such 
as self-cultivation, political subjects such as kings and hege- 
monists, and dialectic subjects such as the rectification of 
names. Indeed, his interests were so broad that they covered 
practically all aspects of human activity. With a keen ana- 
lytic mind rare at that period, Master Hsiin succeeded in 
stringing together the scattered and unorganized teachings 
of the K'ung school into a coherent system of thought as 
none of the others had done before him. 

If Master Hsiin was analytic in his method of presenta- 
tion, he was also eclectic in his ideas. Traces of the other 
philosophical schools, such as the Taoist, the Dialectician, 
the Legalist, and even the Mohist, are discernible in his 



writings. While fundamentally a follower of the Ju school, 
Hsiin Ch'ing did not hesitate to take in anything and every- 
thing that he considered good and useful for his system, 
which has rightly been called the philosophy of culture. We 
know that value comes from culture, and culture itself is the 
highest attainment of man. Thus in presenting the philoso- 
phy of culture Hsun Ch'ing summarized for us the intellec- 
tual achievements of a great race in its most creative period. 
In view of this contribution, a high tribute is due to Hsiin 
Ch'ing, by whom the great tradition of the Chinese people 
was at last moulded. 

Chapter Seven 


i . The Rise of the Legalist School 

AT the time of Masters Meng and Hsun there emerged in 
the northern states a very powerful school of thought that 
was destined to triumph over all the others in this great 
battle of ideas. The Legalist school conquered, however, not 
by strength of argument but by sheer political force, when 
the government party, with which it was aligned, succeeded 
at last in putting the whole of China under its control. But 
before we proceed to give an account of its victory and the 
disaster that befell the Ju group, let us begin by showing 
how this new school became such an important factor in the 
realms of philosophy and politics. 

The Chou world, we remember, had been originally 
governed by two dillcrent codes of regulations : the cere- 
monies that directed the lives of the aristocracy, and the 
common laws that controlled the lives of the peasantry. In 
the course of centuries, as a result of the merging of classes, 
these distinctions became less strict than they had been. In 
the hands of Master K'img, for instance, the rules of noble 
conduct, derived from the ceremonies, became a universal 
system of ethics for all people, irrespective of rank and class. 
At the same time, the penal laws, formerly applied only to 
the serfs, also gained general acceptance among the intel- 
lectuals as an effective means of crime prevention. In view 
of the fact that the nobles of that period had grown so cor- 
rupt and unruly that they could no longer be restrained by 
the gentle code of ritual, it was natural that many political 
thinkers came to feel that licence and insubordination 
among the aristocrats should be curbed by the application 
of a severe set of rules. Hence there rose a school of thought 
which maintained that strict and equal punishments should 
be meted out to all transgressors of law. 


At this point it should be noted that the Legalists, though 
advocates and administrators of rigorous laws, were by no 
means more relentless than the other politicians of the time. 
What made them appear so was the vigour and strictness 
with which they enforced the penal code, which was itself 
inhumane. As originally applied to captives, slaves, and 
serfs, the law had remained cruel for centuries in spite of the 
humanitarian efforts of Master K'ung and others. For in- 
stance, it included such barbarous practices as cutting off 
the nose and feet, castration, and quartering, all of which 
the Legalists sought to apply to plebeians and patricians 
alike. But if they were inexorable in their attitude, their 
harshness was considerably modified by the fairness of their 
position. The strength of the Legalist school, indeed, lay in 
its concept that all were equal in the eyes of the law. 

2. Philosophers and Administrators 

THE school of law originated with law-makers and admini- 
strators. As early as the seventh century B.C. the idea of law 
had already existed, and it was embodied in Kuan Chung, 
one of the great ministers of Gh'i. Kuan Chung not only 
made Ch'i the richest and strongest state in the east by 
introducing government monopoly in salt and iron, which 
were abundant in the Ch'i peninsula, but he also left to later 
generations a pattern of good and eflicient administration. 
Though criticized by Master K'ung for being negligent in 
ceremonial observances, he was nevertheless commended as 
having rendered a great service to the Chinese nation by 
stemming the tide of barbaric invasions on the Chinese 
states. For, said Master K'ung, 'Were it not for Kuan 
Chung, we might now be wearing our hair loose and folding 
our clothes to the left," * that is, in the style of the bar- 

It is unlikely that Kuan Chung, the busy statesman, 
should have ever conceived the idea of becoming an author. 
Moreover, as we know, it was not a common practice for the 
statesman of those days to commit his ideas to writing, and 

1 06 


even Master K'ung refrained from setting down his teach- 
ings. So the book Kuan-tzu, attributed to the Ch'i minister, 
was undoubtedly a later forgery without much historical 
value, but the man Kuan Chung was certainly the greatest 
administrator since the Duke of Chou and deservedly 
honoured as the spiritual founder of the Legalist school. 

Another prominent figure was Tzvi-ch'an, prime minister 
of Cheng, who promulgated the first written Chinese code 
as early as 536 B.C. Probably the most remarkable man of 
his time, he won Master K'ung's praise as being an epitome 
of the 'princely man'. At his death the Master wept bitterly, 
observing that he had a love bequeathed by the ancients. 

Whereas Kuan Chung and Tzu-ch'an might be regarded 
as forerunners of the Legalist school, Shen Tao, a scholar of 
Chao, Shen Pu-hai, a minister of Han, and Shang Yang, a 
native of Wei, who later became the great law-maker of 
Ch'in, were three of the most prominent Legalist thinkers 
of a later period. Contemporaries of Meng K'o, they all 
flourished in the fourth century B.C. in the northern states 
of Han, Wei, and Chao, the three succession states of the 
once mighty Tsin. From these states the Legalist idea spread 
to Ch'in in the north- west, where it gained a firm foothold 
in the government administration. The reason for its 
growth in the hardy northern climate is not far to seek. 
Obviously, just as the genial southern temperament was 
akin to the romantic naturalistic ideals of the Lao-tzu and 
Chuang-tzu, and the people on the central plains were at- 
tracted to Master K'ung's doctrine of the mean, so the 
practical genius of the northern people expressed itself in 
the theories and practices of law. 

Generally speaking, Shen Tao contributed to Legalism 
the concept of shih, variously translated as force or power. 
Expressed figuratively, shih is the res media by which a dragon 
rides on the clouds and a unicorn covers a thousand miles a 
day ; while without it both these fabulous animals would be- 
come as helpless and crippled as an ant or a cricket. To be 
more specific, shih is the authority which enables a ruler to 
govern his people. A king without shih is therefore not much 



different from any ordinary man; he is powerless to make 
his orders obeyed and his influence felt among the people. 

The second concept, shu, as advanced by Shen Pu-hai, 
carries the Legalist theories into practical administration. 
Shu is especially the art of government or statecraft, by 
means of which a ruler controls his subordinates and em- 
ploys them to his own advantage. These political measures 
are devised for their effectiveness without regard to moral 
standards. Hence some of them may be entirely fraudulent 
and oppressive, but in so far as they achieve their purpose 
they are considered as indispensable to good government. 
For instance, it was by such unscrupulous means that the 
ruler of Ch'in finally succeeded in getting an iron grasp on 
his people and in bringing all the neighbouring states under 
his domination. It was also the same principle that made it 
possible for a totalitarian state to force first its own people 
into slavery, and then the other states into submission and 

Fa, the third Legalist concept, was the weapon with 
which Shang Yang, popularly known as the Lord of Shang, 
fought his way to power and greatness in Gh'in. During his 
ministry there Shang Yang brought about many reforms in 
that rising state. He strengthened government control on the 
people by breaking up the old patriarchal family; he in- 
creased the state treasury by abolishing the 'well-field 5 sys- 
tem of agriculture and opening up waste lands for cultiva- 
tion; he encouraged military service by a system of rewards 
and punishments. His greatest achievement, however, was 
the enactment of a set of new laws for all the people. Having 
once promulgated them, he was so vigorous in their execu- 
tion that he even punished the delinquency of the crown 
prince by having the prince's tutor branded; at a second 
offence by the same prince Lord Shang had the hapless 
tutor's nose sliced off. Thus, after five years of administra- 
tion, he made Ch'in the strongest and the best governed 
among all the contending states. But in his strict enforce- 
ment of the law he also made many enemies and, in spite of 
his meritorious service, his career was cut short when the 



same crown prince he had disgraced ascended the throne. 
The latter, accusing Lord Shang of treason, condemned him 
to death and caused him to be torn to pieces by four chariots 
driven in opposite directions. 

To this ambitious, unscrupulous but also brilliant politi- 
cian, posterity attributed the authorship of a political treatise 
that now goes under his name. Though most likely not from 
his pen, the Book of Lord Shang contains much that was in 
keeping with its namesake's views and practices. There is, 
for example, a striking correspondence in the political aspi- 
rations of Lord Shang the man, and the aim of Lord Shang 
the book. In either case, it is to create a centralized militant 
state with the ultimate goal of attaining supremacy over the 
other states. To achieve this, so maintains Lord Shang> the 
people must be encouraged to farm and to fight, that is, to 
produce abundance in times of peace and to be well orga- 
nized for fighting in times of war. But Lord Shang's great 
contribution to Chinese political thought was in his insist- 
ence, both in theory and practice, on an equitable applica- 
tion of the law, in which he neither spared the strong and 
great in their punishments nor showed favouritism to rela- 
tives and friends. Thus, while laying the foundation for the 
future conquest of Ch'in, he also paved the way for the ulti- 
mate Legalist triumph over the 'hundred schools' of 

3. A Synthesis of Legalist Ideas 

STRANGELY enough, the two great exponents of Legalist 
thought in the next century were both disciples of Hsiin 
Ch'ing, the great K'ung scholar. While the latter was a 
magistrate at Lan-ling he had with him two students, Han 
Fei and Li Ssu: the first turned out to be a Legalist theorist, 
and the second a Legalist administrator. Though it might 
seem implausible at first sight that Legalist scholars should 
spring from the K'ung school, it is obvious that Master 
Hslin's authoritarianism could easily lead to the even 
greater authoritarianism of his disciples, who found in law 
and statecraft a more effective means of attaining a strong 



and orderly government than in ceremonials and music. 
Moreover, Master Hsiin's theory of human nature must 
have provided a good psychological basis for the Legalist 
contention that law was essential in combating and restrain- 
ing crimes into which men were apt to fall because of their 
inherent evil. 

Han Fei, a brilliant teacher of power politics, came from 
a noble family in the state of Han. An habitual stutterer, he 
resorted to writing to communicate and propagate his ideas. 
By chance, two of his essays, entitled 'Solitary Indignation* 
and *The Five Vermin', were introduced to Ch'in and read 
by its ambitious young king Cheng, who expressed a great 
desire to know their author. 'These are the works of Han 
Fei/ said Li Ssu, Han Fei's fellow-student and now an 
official in the court of Ch'in. Later, when Han Fei was sent 
to Ch'in as a goodwill envoy from Han, he was so well re- 
ceived by the king that the Ch'in officials, including Li Ssu, 
became jealous. They slandered him to King Cheng with 
the result that the honoured visitor was accused of treachery 
and thrown into prison. While there, Han Fei received from 
his former schoolmate a gift of poison and an order to com- 
mit suicide. Thus died in Ch'in, rather ironically, the very 
man whose teaching was to serve as a philosophical basis for 
the future greatness of that mighty state. 

In the works of Han Fei we have a complete synthesis of 
the Legalist ideas of the fourth and third centuries B.C. 
While following Shen Tao in his concept of sovereign au- 
thority, and Shang Yang in his vigorous administration of 
the law, Han Fei was especially indebted to Shen Pu-hai in 
his emphasis on statecraft, which he called 'the art of wield- 
ing the sceptre'. In discussing the relation between the 
prince and his ministers, Han Fei, who considered the 
sovereign's person as inviolable and the sovereign's power as 
absolute, insisted that the ruler of men should have a firm 
control of the 'two handles of government', viz., commenda- 
tion and chastisement - with the first a prince secured the 
officials' loyalty, and with the second he commanded awe by 
inflicting death and torture upon all who dared to disobey. 



True to the Legalist conception, Han Fei also maintained 
that there should be an equal application of the law to nobles 
and serfs. He said, * Ministers are never exempt from punish- 
ment for their faults; commoners are never overlooked in 
rewards for good.' 2 But, according to Han Fei, there was 
one person who was above the law - he was the sovereign 
himself, who alone made the law and from whom all au- 
thority emanated. Thus in his political ideas Han Fei advo- 
cated an absolute monarchy based upon law and govern- 
ment and upheld by military strength. His ideal state, there- 
fore, was a centralized state with one sovereign, one regime, 
one supreme law an autocracy that would put an end to all 
war and confusion by virtue of its totalitarian powers. 

4. K'ung Scholars under Fire 

THE typical attitude of the Legalist philosopher in contra- 
distinction to that of the K'ung scholar is well illustrated in 
the following dialogue between three teachers of the Gh'i 
academy below the Gate of Grain. 

T'ien P'ien, an eloquent speaker with the nickname the 
'Heavenly Mouth', was reading the Classic of History when he 
observed that 'the age of Yao was one of great peace.' 

Sung Hsing, his colleague, overhearing the remark, said, 
'Was this not due to the administration of the sage kings?' 

'No,' broke in P'eng Meng, who was standing near by; 
'this was due to the administration of a sage law, not to that 
of a sage man.' 3 

Though none of the three interlocutors was a confirmed 
Legalist or K'ung scholar, yet in the words of P'eng Meng 
and Sung Hsing we have a good example of the different po- 
litical dogmas of the two schools. Whereas the K'ung school 
stressed the personal influence of the ruler, the Legalist con- 
tended that a country could be well governed only by a 
body of good efficient laws which, once established, would 
keep the ball of state rolling without the ruler's doing any- 
thing in particular. The advantage of this position was that, 
since sage-kings appeared but rarely, all rulers who followed 



the law did not have to be gifted and virtuous. Moreover, 
laws eliminated personal factors which were often a hin- 
drance in government administration. 

For the same reason, the Legalists rejected the K'ung 
scholars' static conception of history and their faith in tra- 
ditional authority. On the contrary, they maintained that, 
since social changes were inevitable, all state affairs should 
be conditioned by environment and the exigencies of the 
immediate present. Instead of yearning for the unattainable 
ideals of a hoary age and adhering to worn-out conventions, 
they demanded a complete rupture with the past. Modern 
government, they asserted, had long outgrown the tribal 
family of the earliest days, and the functions of the ruler 
could not be the same as those of parents. Furthermore, 
family virtues such as love and benevolence had no place in 
the government of a nation. 

Likewise, in their insistence on an equitable law for the 
average man, the Legalists came into conflict with the privi- 
leged aristocratic class. As noted before, it was this convic- 
tion that led Lord Shang to impose punishment on the 
offending prince, which led ultimately to his own downfall. 
But the seeds of Legalism sown by this dauntless minister 
took root in the Ch'in soil, and as a result there emerged in 
that state a monarchical order that succeeded at last in 
supplanting the feudal regime as well as the inalienable 
rights of the aristocracy. 

In their anti-feudal campaigns the Legalists condemned 
in one breath all ancient institutions and traditions together 
with the ethics, ritual, history, and literature of the past that 
had been so dear to Master K'ung. Thus among the ten evils 
of the time the Legalists listed filial piety, fraternal love as 
well as poetry, ceremony, and music. All these they con- 
sidered either impracticable or unprofitable to the people, 
who should be engaged in the more productive pursuits of 
agriculture and the 'honourable' profession of soldiery. 

It was then that the K'ung scholars came under fire. 
Though antagonistic towards all the other schools, the Le- 
galists centred their attack especially on the Ju followers. 



These they included with merchants, artisans, swash- 
bucklers, etc., among the ten idle classes to be eliminated. 
The K'ung scholars, in particular, were accused of being 
'glib-tongucd', of living on others, and of seeking to surpass 
one another in empty talk. Moreover, they were the danger- 
ous elements in society, who, though fed at state expense, 
served nevertheless only to awaken distrust in the state by 
their high-sounding words and specious arguments. So in a 
moment of 'solitary indignation' Han Fei, the great spokes- 
man of the Legalist school, condemned them all as grubs 
and parasites. 

5. The End of an Epoch 

WHILE the battle of the intellectuals was going on with a 
great deal of sound and fury a more devastating war was 
also in progress among the contending states in a life-and- 
death struggle for supremacy. It lasted for many decades 
until finally the remote backward north-western state of 
Ch'in succeeded, with its superior political and military 
power, in unifying the whole of China. Because of its geo- 
graphical isolation, Ch'in had been the last great state to be 
admitted to the Chinese confederation. But, though less 
civilized than the rest, it had the advantage of being the 
least fettered by traditions and inhibitions, and hence was the 
more receptive to such new totalitarian ideas as those advo- 
cated by the Legalists. This made it possible for Ch'in at the 
time of Lord Shang to make reforms in government and law 
that subsequently led it on the road to conquest. Immedi- 
ately afterwards, the third century B.C. saw the mighty 
armies of Ch'in, backed by a strong government at home, 
overrunning the central plains as they hacked down hurdles 
of opposition and raced towards the enemy capitals in a mad 
effort to dominate the entire Chinese kingdom. This goal 
Ch'in finally won in 221 B.C., when one after another the 
feudal states of Han, Chao, Ch'i, Wei, Ch'u, and Yen suc- 
cumbed to her might, the house of Chou having previously 
been overthrown in 256 B.C., when its last king 'saw his 
sacrifices discontinued 5 . With the fall of the symbolic 


authority of Chou, feudalism too came to an official end. Now 
a new era dawned in Chinese history when King Cheng of 
Ch'in was crowned the First Emperor of China. 

The great political genius who engineered this epoch- 
making conquest was none other than Li Ssu, the Gh'in 
prime minister, whom we have met as a fellow-student with 
Han Fei at. Master Hsiin's school. Though a less brilliant 
scholar, Li Ssu was more successful as an administrator. A 
stern realist, cold, calculating, and unrelenting, he was the 
greatest statesman since Lord Shang to have served at the 
court of Ch'in. His influence, for better or worse, was tre- 
mendous. With the support of the First Emperor, Li Ssu 
now effected sweeping changes in Chinese society that re- 
sulted in a complete destruction of feudalism in the new 

Among the many anti-feudal measures adopted by Li Ssu 
were the establishment of a strong central government 
backed by ellicient military machinery, the replacement of 
aristocracy by a well-trained bureaucracy, and the standard- 
ization of measurements and weights, of carriages and roads. 
But most important of all was the division of the empire, this 
time not into semi-independent fiefs but into well-defined 
administrative units, each governed by a non hereditary 
official directly appointed by the court. While the institu- 
tion of these units - the country was divided into thirty-six 
commanderies, each of which was in turn sub -divided into 
a number of prefectures - was a marked departure from the 
Chou regime, the break with feudalism was made complete 
by the destruction of the landed power of the aristocracy, 
when no less than 1 20,000 noble families of the conquered 
kingdoms were removed from their ancestral holdings to the 
Ch'in capital at Hsien-yang (near modern Sian) and their 
privately owned weapons confiscated to make huge bronze 
statues for the emperor's palaces. Thus the feudal society of 
ancient China received the last staggering blow, from which 
it never recovered. 



6. A Fatal Banquet 

WHILE the First Emperor of Ch'in, at Li Ssu's instigation, 
was thus engaged in the destruction of the past, he still had 
with him in the first years of his reign seventy scholars of 
great learning, to whom he gave the official rank of Po Shih 
or Eruditus. These learned men he kept in his court to keep 
alive the torch of culture, now in danger of being extin- 
guished because of the dissolution of the states. Though Le- 
galism had triumphed in the person of Li Ssu, the battle was 
not yet entirely lost for the other philosophies, which at least 
were allowed to survive. They might, in fact, have con- 
tinued to flourish during the Ch'in dynasty had it not been 
for an inadvertent speech of a K'ung scholar, Shun-yii Yiieh 
by name, which caused the greatest catastrophe that ever 
befell an ancient culture. 

It all happened like this: In the thirty-fourth year (213 
B.C.) of his reign the First Emperor held a banquet in his 
palace at Hsien-yang, to which he invited all the dignitaries 
of the court. This must have been a great occasion - perhaps 
the Emperor's birthday - for the seventy Eruditi who were 
present all came forward to wish the Emperor a long life. 
During the course of the celebration, as was natural, there 
Were many complimentary speeches. Among the speakers 
was a certain courtier who congratulated His Majesty on his 
great achievements, commending him especially for having 
transformed the loosely-knit feudal states into well-organized 
commanderies and prefectures under the direct control of 
the central government. 'For myriads of generations,' so 
the eulogist concluded, 'will these achievements be handed 
down. Never since antiquity has Your Majesty's awesome 
virtue been equalled.' 

The Emperor was pleased. But Shun-yii Yiieh, one of the 
Eruditi, came forward to protest against the courtier's 
speech. Addressing the Emperor, he said: 'Your servant has 
heard that the reason why the Shang and Chou kings (held 
the empire) for more than a thousand years was that they 


gave fiefs to their sons, brothers, and meritorious ministers 
as supporting props to the royal house. At present, Your 
Majesty possesses all within the four seas, yet Your Majesty's 
sons and younger brothers remain common men. (If eventu- 
ally there should be uprisings,) how could your subjects 
come to their sovereign's help without means of assistance ? 
Your servant has never heard of any af lairs which have not 
been modelled on antiquity as enduring for long.' 4 

The First Emperor submitted this criticism to his officers. 
The Grand Councillor Li Ssu then memorialized : 

The Five Emperors did not imitate each other, nor did the Three 
Dynasties repeat themselves, because forms of government change 
in accordance with times. ... In the old clays, the feudal lords, 
who were continually at war with one another, w.slicd to secure 
the services of the best talents and hence encouraged scholars. Now 
that the world is unified and all laws emanate fiom a single au- 
thority, the common people should apply themselves to agriculture 
and industry, and the intellectuals to laws and administration. 
Nevertheless, the scholars to-day are studying (he past in order to 
defame the present. They cause distrust and confusion in the minds 
of the black-haired people . . . 

Your servant, therefore, ventures to propose that all historical 
records, save those of Ch'in, be burned; that all libraries of poetry, 
history, and philosophy, except those under the custody of the 
Eruditi, be sent to the officials to be destroyed; that all people who 
recite poetry or discuss history be executed; all those who 
raise their voice against the present government in the name of 
antiquity be beheaded together with their families; . . . that only 
books of medicine, divination, agriculture, and arboriculture be 
preserved; that students be required to study laws under officials. 5 

The imperial decree, as drafted by Li Ssu, was approved by 
the Emperor. 

7. The Great Catastrophe 

As a result of this edict, which must have been carried out 
with the great thoroughness typical of the Legalist administra- 
tion, the intellectual activity of the previous period came to 
an abrupt end. Though the K'ung scholars bore the brunt 



of the attack with the Classic of Poetry and the Classic of 
History placed under special ban, the other schools of phi- 
losophy also suffered a great setback, from which they never 
recovered. Ancient learning, first wrested from official 
monopoly by Master K'ung, was now once more kept under 
lock and key in the imperial archives, accessible only to a 
few; while new ideas, deprived of their source of nourish- 
ment, could no longer spread and thrive. The totalitarian 
control of thought was now complete. 

But that was not all. The disastrous proscription of books 
was followed by the even more catastrophic burying alive of 
scholars. Whether these scholars were persecuted for re- 
fusing to surrender their precious possessions or whether, as 
another story says, they were mere scapegoats of the Em- 
peror's indignation at the desertion of certain court magi- 
cians 6 is immaterial. The cruel fact is that no less than 460 
of the Ju scholars were put to death a year after that fateful 
edict, thus creating unspeakable havoc in the rank and file 
of the Chinese intellectuals, just as the burning of books had 
left irreparable gaps in the history of Chinese literature. 

But the worst was yet to come. The Ch'in Empire, as we 
know, was short-lived and there was a possibility that some 
day the proscribed books in the imperial archives might yet 
see the light of day to give stimulus to learning. The greatest 
catastrophe befell, however, when after the fall of Ch'in in 
206 B.C. the imperial palaces at Hsien-yang were set on fire 
by the rebel army. As history informs us, the monstrous 
conflagration lasted for three months and the only complete 
collection of China's most treasured ancient books perished 
in the flames. Irreparable indeed was this greatest of all 
losses to China's rich cultural heritage. 


Chapter Eight 


i. The Revival of Learning 

FORTUNATELY for posterity, Chinese culture, which had 
suffered such great havoc in the Ch'in period, did not perish 
altogether. After the founding of the Han dynasty in the 
wake of Ch'in the scholars were once more active. The 
school of Ju, especially, rallied in an all-out effort to win for 
itself the dominant position it had held in the Chou period. 
After many vicissitudes the struggle that lasted for decades 
was finally won and the teaching of Master K'ung estab- 
lished as the orthodox doctrine of the new state. 

Things did not look very promising in the first years of the 
Han period. Coming from a low, illiterate family, Liu Pang, 
Eminent Emperor (206-195 B.C.) of the Dynasty, had little 
love for such pedantic ceremonial practitioners as the Ju. In 
fact, he was so thoroughly disgusted with them that he 
would, so the story says, urinate in their high hats to show 
his contempt. And when pressed to give more consideration 
to ancient learning, he would answer, 'I have conquered the 
empire on horseback, and on horseback I propose to hold 
it.' 1 

But, luckily for the Ju, no sovereign on horseback could 
long hold an empire. Soon the soldier-emperor discovered 
that at least in one subject these intellectuals could be useful. 
At that time he was much troubled by the confusion at his 
court caused mainly by generals and ministers as uneducated 
and unmannered as he himself. Now, the K'ung scholars 
were noted for their great knowledge of ritual. So one of 
them, Shu-sun T'ung (third to second century B.C.), who 
had been an Eruditus under the Ch'in regime, was ordered 
to draw up a code of ceremonials for the court. This Shu-sun 
T'ung did with pleasure and competence, and when the 



rites were at last performed everything went so well and 
orderly that Liu Pang, highly flattered by the great homage 
done him, exclaimed, 'Now I know what it means to be an 
emperor!' 2 

This seems to be a turning point in the history of the 
K'ung school, the ceremonial knowledge of whose members 
won for it a foothold in the court. As a reward for his meri- 
torious service, Shu-sun T'ung was made the Imperial 
Master of Ceremony, and the other scholars, who had 
helped him in drafting the Ceremonial Code, were also given 
official positions at court. At the same time the Eminent 
Emperor began to change his attitude towards the literati. 
Shortly before his death in 195 B.C. he went to visit Master 
K'ung's grave in Lu during one of his inspection tours and 
offered there the grand sacrifice of an ox, a sheep, and a pig 
- a high honour worthy of a great sage. 

Even then the Eminent Emperor refused to withdraw the 
ban against the Chou books, which was not lifted until 191 
B.C., in the reign of the next emperor. Then began a feverish 
attempt to restore the lost books. With official encourage- 
ment, the scholars finally succeeded in unearthing a large 
number of the K'ung classics that had been scattered among 
the people. These were brought together and presented to* 
the court to be kept in the imperial archives. It was in this 
manner that the Classic of Poetry, the Classic of History, and 
the Spring and Autumn were once more rescued from oblivion, 
the Classic of Change having previously escaped persecution 
as a work of divination. These four and the Record of Rites, 
which was pieced together later, constitute the Five Classics 
which have been handed down to posterity since the Han 
dynasty. The only loss, so far as the K'ung classics were con- 
cerned, was the Classic of Music, only one chapter of which 
survived in the Works of Master Hsiin. 

A typical example may be cited of the way in which these 
classics were restored. For many years the Classic of History 
was lost to the world until Fu Sheng, a former Eruditus 
under the Ch'in regime, recovered it for posterity. Accord- 
ing to one story, at the time of the Proscription Edict in 2 13 B.C., 


Fu Sheng had hidden the bamboo tablets that made up 
this classic in the walls of his home before he fled for safety. 
There the book remained for almost half a century until the 
reign of Emperor Wen of Han (179-157 B.C ), when Fu 
Sheng, now in his nineties, brought it from its hiding place. 
Though most of the tablets were worn out, Fu Shen^ was 
able to piece them together into a book of twenty-nine chap- 
ters that bore his name. Another account, even more fasci- 
nating, credited Fu Sheng with actually writing down from 
memory all these chapters of the History classic - a prodigi- 
ous feat indeed ! 

But the most fruitful discovery of the classics came a few 
decades later in the last years of Emperor Wu (140 -87 B.C.). 
At that time Prince Kung of Lu, while dis.nintling an old 
house of the K'ung family to make way for his palace, dis- 
covered in the dilapidated walls numerous tablets that 
formed the Classic of History, the Spring and Autumn, the Ana- 
lects, and the Classic of Filial Piety. All these, however, were 
written in the archaic tadpole characters of Master K'ung's 
time and were hardly legible to the people of the Han 
period. So these recovered books were sent to K'ung An-kuo 
(second century B.C.), a great scholar and lineal descendant 
of Master K'ung in the eleventh generation, to be de- 
ciphered and written in the current Han script. This An- 
kuo accomplished, and when his version of the History in 
forty-six portions was completed he presented it together 
with the old tablets to the emperor in 97 B.C. Thus it was 
through painstaking efforts like these that the lost Ghou 
classics were finally restored to the Chinese people. 

2. Eruditi of the Five Classics 

AT the same time the K'ung scholars were repairing the 
damage to their littery heritage they had to fight a political 
battle in order to win recognition as the sole teachers of 
orthodoxy, for in spite of the happy beginnings made by 
Shu-sun T'ung they did not find the political atmosphere 
entirely favourable. To be sure, Legalism had fallen into 



disgrace because of its connexion with the Ch'in tyrants ; 
and Monism, for unknown reasons, had failed to revive as a 
vital philosophy after the death-blow dealt to the 'hundred 
schools'. But there was Taoism, the chief rival of the Ju 
school, which had grown extremely popular in government 
circles in the early Han period. Not only were most of the 
ministers Taoistically inclined, but even the emperors them- 
selves showed distinct Taoist leanings, adopting laissez-faire 
as their state policy and Taoist occultism as their personal 
faith. The Empress Tou, especially, was a devoted Taoist, 
and her influence was great during the three reigns of her 
husband Wen, her son Ching (156-141 B.C.), and her 
grandson Wu. It was only after her death in 135 B.C. that 
the Taoist influence at court waned. Even then the later 
Han emperors, including the great Wu, though professed 
patrons of the K'ung doctrine, were also at heart believers 
in the occult arts. 

But Taoist magic, whatever its promises, failed to satisfy 
in the end, when its elixir of life and its isles of the blest all 
proved illusory. On the other hand, the K'ung scholars also 
had their magic: it was the secret, more easily attainable 
than the Taoist, of securing for the emperor not longevity 
but a long absolute reign, In this respect the feudal doctrine 
of Master K'ung that once upheld the authority of the Ghou 
king could easily be converted into a political system in sup- 
port of a centralized autocratic state that was the Han. 
Allegiance to the Son of Heaven, for instance, was required 
of the feudal lords as it was required of the court ministers 
of the new empire. In the same way, Master K'ung's cilbrt 
to restore the lost powers of the Ghou sovereign - this too 
could be capitalized on to bolster up the new imperial au- 
thority. All in all, though Taoist occultism was more fasci- 
nating to the ambitious young Emperor Wu, the K'ung 
teaching also made a powerful appeal. Thus, while dallying 
with alchemy, magic, and the idea of immortality, the em- 
peror saw no objection to keeping the K'ung scholars at 
court to introduce political measures that could help to 
weld his vast empire. 


The first indication of the rise of the K'ung school in the 
Han dynasty appears in an imperial edict of 141 B.C., order- 
ing the dismissal of the non-K'ung scholars from the Board 
of Eruditi, which served as an official organ for the advance- 
ment of learning. By giving the K'ung scholars the mono- 
poly of learning this edict was a significant event in the 
history of the Ju school. But though the new law was suc- 
cessfully introduced by its supporters at court, it was at first 
countermanded by the Empress Dowager Tou, whose 
Taoist sympathies we have already mentioned. A quarrel 
soon ensued between the powerful Dowager and the K'ung 
scholars, two of whom gave up their lives in the fight. But 
luckily for the Ju followers the aged Empress was not des- 
tined to live long, and in 136 B.C., a year before her death, 
the K'ung doctrine was proclaimed in another edict and 
adopted as a state dogma. 

Immediately after the expulsion of the other philosophers 
from the Board of Eruditi the Ju scholars reorganized it into 
five faculties, each specializing in one of the five K'ung 
classics, namely, the Classic of Change, the Classic of Poetry, the 
Classic of History, the Record of Riles, and the Spring and Au- 
tumn. Later, in 124 B.C., another innovation was introduced 
by the K'ung scholars at court. This was the founding of the 
first Chinese university in the Han capital at Chang-an, for 
the purpose of 'transmitting the sacred ways of the ancient 
rulers and of achieving the moral and intellectual advance- 
ment of the empire.' At first, only fifty students were ad- 
mitted to the university to study with the Eruditi in the five 
classical departments. But from this modest beginning the 
university soon grew by leaps and bounds until by the end 
of the first century B.C. it had as many as 3,000 students. 
This number was further increased in the later centuries 
until it reached a peak of 30^000 in the second century A.D. - 
probably the biggest enrolment in any university ! At the same 
time many other schools were established in the outlying 
districts, and like the national university, these, too, had as 
their aim the training of young men in the knowledge of the 
K'ung classics. Holding firmly in their hands the reins of 



education, the K'ung scholars soon dominated the Chinese 
intellectual scene, and continued to do so during the ensuing 
two millennia. 

Another important measure in promoting the K'ung 
doctrine was the introduction of an examination system 
based upon the Five Classics. This system, too, had its origin 
in the Han dynasty when the government was badly in need 
of good, capable officials to administer the great empire. 
At that time the two most important qualifications for these 
civil office-holders were education and moral integrity. The 
first was stressed because the officials should be able at least 
to read the imperial edicts and send in written reports to the 
court. For this as well as other reasons it was apparent that 
no one would be better qualified for office than the well-read 
followers of the K'ung school. Hence in the place of a here- 
ditary aristocracy, now extinct, there rose a new class of 
people, the scholar-officials, who came to fill all the key 
government positions throughout the empire. 

In their zeal to propagate their teaching the K'ung 
scholars attempted to limit the members of the new official 
class to their group alone. This they accomplished by the 
clever tactics of making the K'ung classics the only subjects 
for examination. Their first victory came when the new edu- 
cational law issued in the reign of Emperor Wu stipulated 
that any university student, after a year's study with the 
Eruditi, could become an official by passing an examination 
in one of the five classical subjects. From this propitious be- 
ginning, which set a precedent tor all succeeding genera- 
tions, the Chinese examination system, the world's earliest, 
soon developed into a full-scale competition among the edu- 
cated, who were given titles and ranks in accordance with 
their proficiency in the knowledge of the classics. In this way 
the K'ung scholars secured the monopoly of the country's 
bureaucracy, while at the same time they firmly established, 
for better or for worse, their hold on China's intellectual life. 



3. The 'Science of Catastrophes and Anomalies* 

THE credit for all these successful innovations went to Tung 
Chung-shu (179?-! 04? B.C.), the greatest of the early Han 
scholars. As a representative of the intellectual group at an 
imperial conference, Tung thrice addressed to the throne 
memorials in which he advocated a system of education 
based upon the K'ung doctrine - an important aim of the 
K'ung followers which, as we have seen, was finally realized. 
But here it must be noted that the K'ung doctrines as ex- 
pounded by Tung Chung-shu and adopted in the early Han 
period was a far cry from the Master's original teaching. 
Ironically enough, just at the moment when the star of the 
K'ung school was in its ascendency, it started changing 

Great scholar though he was, Tung Chung-shu must have 
appeared a rather pompous figure to his students. Instead of 
having personal contact with them, Tung would give his 
lectures behind a curtain while at the same time exacting a 
strict attention to order and propriety from his audience. In 
fact, he was so inaccessible to his pupils that the newcomers 
had to be prepared by their senior colleagues before being 
admitted, if they were lucky enough, to their first interview 
with their august teacher. Besides his strictness, Tung was 
also noted for his great industry. According to one story, he 
was so absorbed in his studies that for three years he did not 
even take a look at his garden. 

As to the teaching of this dignified scholar, we must admit 
that it was largely a strange admixture of orthodox and 
heterodox elements. Generally speaking, there was in Tung's 
philosophy as set forth in his work the Copious Dew in Spring 
and Autumn a distinct leaning towards the supernatural ideas 
of the Yin-yang school. The Copious Dew, for instance, was a 
fanciful interpretation of Master K'ung's Spring and Autumn 
in accordance with the prevalent beliefs of the time. As an 
example of its curious nature, we must relate that certain 
passages in it are actually prayers for rain and the stopping 
of rain. 3 



In ethics Tung Chung-shu upheld the five 'constant vir- 
tues' of jen (human-heartedness),jyj (righteousness), li (pro- 
priety), chih (wisdom), and hsin (sincerity); in politics he 
stressed as most important the relationship between a sover- 
eign and his subjects. In all these, as in his advocacy of a 
monarchical order, to which he gave a theoretical justifica- 
tion, he was orthodox enough. But Tung departed from the 
K'ung tradition in his cosmic speculation, especially in his 
belief in the correspondence between natural phenomena 
and human actions. Thus, whereas Master K'ung refused to 
delve into such metaphysical subjects and Master Hsiin de- 
clared openly against them, Master Tung deliberately 
incorporated the old Sinitic superstitions into his new 

The central idea of Master Tung's system may be sum- 
marized briefly as follows : Because of the close relation be- 
tween man and nature and the great similarity in the social 
and cosmic orders, any human action that reached the 
highest level of goodness or evil would flow into the uni- 
versal course of Heaven and Earth and manifest itself in the 
strange phenomena of nature. Man's wicked deeds, for in- 
stance, would culminate in catastrophes such as fire, flood, 
drought, and earthquake, and in anomalies such as comets, 
eclipses, and the 'growing of beards on women'. These 
pseudo-scientific beliefs Master Tung called the 'Science of 
Catastrophes and Anomalies'. 

But, not content with merely postulating this new 
'science', Tung Chung-shu went a step further by applying 
his discovery to political affairs. He asserted that the sover- 
eign, by virtue of his great authority, was particularly re- 
sponsible in his deeds for such prodigies as Heaven might 
deem fit to send on earth. When these occurred, according 
to Master Tung, it was still not too late for the ruler to mend 
his ways; but if he persisted in his misdeeds without heeding 
these ominous signs, then he would ultimately cause his own 
downfall as well as the ruin of his empire. 

A monarchist at heart, Tung Chung-shu had nevertheless 
succeeded in devising a formula that acted wonderfully as a 



check on the absolute sway of the monarch. It is hard to say 
whether in advancing his theory Tung had this idea specifi- 
cally in mind - once he taught that the principal object of 
the Spring and Autumn was to 'subject the people to the ruler, 
and the ruler to Heaven' 4 - or whether he was merely re- 
flecting some prevalent beliefs of his time. Of one thing, 
however, we are certain. These were credulous times, and 
even the K'ung scholars themselves were not free from the 
superstitions that were swaying the life of the Han people 
from the emperor down. But, whatever Tung's motive, his 
idea was happily accepted by later scholars, who found it a 
useful weapon with which to combat misgovernment on the 
part of the monarch; for even though the emperor's powers 
were unlimited, as they actually were, he would at least be 
subject to the judgements of Heaven, the omnipotent Being, 
whose reaction was plainly visible in the abnormalities of 
nature. So whenever anything of ill omen occiirred the 
scholars were quick to seize this Heaven-sent opportunity to 
remonstrate with the emperor on his misdeeds. And in quite 
a few cases the scholars did succeed in bringing about some 
reform, thanks to this ingenious theory of Master Tung. 

4. Two Imperial Conferences 

WHILE the victory of the K'ung school was almost assured 
and a new philosophy in the process of making, there raged 
at the same time within the ranks of the K'ung scholars a 
bitter controversy over the interpretation of the classics. 
Especially disconcerting was the quarrel over the claims of 
some newly discovered classics or some popular commen- 
taries to be admitted to official acceptance. In the latter 
case the dispute centred around the three commentaries of 
the Spring and Autumn by Kung-yang Kao, Ku-liang Ch'ih, 
and Tso Ch'iu-ming, all products of the Warring States 

The whole controversy that prevailed on and off through- 
out the entire Han age is too complicated to be related here. 
It suffices to point out that of the three commentaries the 


Kung-yang was the only one accepted as authoritative in the 
beginning of the Han era. That was at the time of Emperor 
Wu, when the influence of Tung Chung-shu, a Kung-yang 
specialist, was at its height. But in the course of time the 
Ku-liang Commentary began also to gain favour among the 
scholars until finally it received imperial patronage at the 
time of Emperor Hsiian (73-49 B.C.), when a special faculty 
of the Eruditus was created for it. Then a generation later, 
in the reigns of Ai (6-1 B.C.) and P'ing (A.D. 1-5), a new 
movement was afoot to make the Tso Commentary an official 
study too, a movement which succeeded only after many 
vicissitudes. But even then the dispute on the relative merits 
of the three commentaries dragged on for many centuries, 
and it has not been settled to this day. 

In an effort to resolve these scholarly differences two im- 
perial conferences were summoned respectively in 54 n.c. and 
A.D. 79. The first meeting held during the reign of Emperor 
Hsiian was attended by the outstanding scholars of the em- 
pire to the number of twenty- two. For three years the con- 
ferees discussed and argued; then finally, in 51 B.C., a 
general meeting was held in the Stone Conduit Pavilion in 
the palace, in which the decisions of the council were me- 
morialized to the throne for ratification. It was in this con- 
ference that the Ku-liang group, backed by the emperor him- 
self, asserted itself against the hitherto dominant Kung-yang 
adherents. About 120 years later another conference of a 
similar nature was held in the presence of Emperor Chang 
(A.D. 76-88) at the White Tiger Lodge of the palace. There 
a battle royal was fought between the supporters of Kung- 
yang and those of Tso. But, in spite of these disagreements, 
the scholars did succeed in fixing an official interpretation 
of the K'ung classics. The fruits of their labour were later 
gathered by Pan Ku (A.D. 32-92), the great Han historian, 
who put together the council's deliberations in a compre- 
hensive memorial that summarizes for posterity the Ju 
teachings of the Han period. 



5. Old Script versus the Modern 

THE above story represents only some of the minor clashes 
that led to a major battle between the two schools of script, 
the Modern and the Old, Generally speaking, the Modern 
Scriptists, who were professors of the classic texts that had 
been modernized into the Han script at the time of their 
restoration, had the sanction of authority behind them, as 
they were mostly members of the Board of Eruditi, which 
was established in Emperor Ching's time. Through the pro- 
cess of oral transmission from master to disciple the tradition 
of the Eruditi prevailed for generations until at last their 
authority was challenged in the first century A.D. by Liu 
Hsin (46? B.C.-A.D. 23), one of the most remarkable scholars 
of the period. 

Son of Liu Hsiang, a Ku-liang scholar, who had taken a 
prominent part in the Stone Conduit Conference, Hsin was 
entrusted with the work of completing a catalogue of the 
Imperial Library, a task which had been started by his 
father. This he accomplished, the catalogue still remaining 
our chief source of information on the ancient books. At the 
same time, while working on his catalogue Liu Hsin had 
access to the imperial repository, in which he found what 
was presumably the collection of ancient classics discovered 
from the walls of the dismantled K'ung house in Lu and 
presented by Prince Kung to Emperor Wu. These books, as 
the reader will recall, were written in an archaic style which 
was already obsolete at the time of Emperor Wu and had to 
be deciphered by specialists. Now, in addition to Prince 
Kung's collection, Liu Hsin also discovered in the recesses of 
the imperial archives other old-script classics that had 
escaped previous attention, notably the Ritual ofChou, sup- 
posed to have been written by the great Duke of Chou, but 
most certainly a product of the Warring States period, if not 
later. 5 It was also at that time that Liu Hsin was first intro- 
duced to the Tso Commentary, then a comparatively obscure 



Overjoyed at his discoveries, Liu Hsin brought these old 
texts to the attention of the Eruditi with the hope that the 
latter might accept them as part of their official charge. 
But the bigoted professors, believing that their authority had 
been challenged, refused to consider these stray works; in- 
stead, they accused Liu Hsin of having forged them for his 
own benefit. So a bitter controversy raged in which Liu Hsin 
stood alone against all the other scholars of the realm. At 
last the feelings ran so high that Liu Hsin, fearing reprisals 
from the powerful supporters of the Eruditi, was forced to 
resign his positions at court. 

But political events soon intervened in those scholarly 
disputes. When Wang Mang, an ambitious member of the 
powerful Empress Dowager's family, usurped the Han 
throne and founded the Hsin dynasty (A.D. 9-23), Liu Hsin 
was made minister of state. Thus with his rise to power Liu 
Hsin's classic convictions carried the day. But the victory 
was as shortlived as Wang Mang's dynasty, which came to 
an abrupt end in A.D. 23. In the same year Liu Hsin died, 
leaving behind him an uncertain fame because of his un- 
happy association with the usurping regime. 

The death of Liu Hsin, however, did not put an end to the 
long, intermittent war between the two contending camps 
of K'ung scholars. On the contrary, it continued with great 
intensity to the last years of the Han dynasty, and the longer 
it lasted the more widely split the contestants became. Their 
disagreement on the texts was accentuated by a difference 
in their interpretation of Master K'uiig's teachings as well 
as in their conceptions of Master K'ung the man. To state it 
briefly, whereas the Modern Script school considered 
Master K'ung as an unsccptred king and a saviour of the 
world, who had actually written most of the classics to ex- 
press his views of a new world order, the Old Script school 
maintained that Master K'ung was essentially a sage 
scholar, whose chief contribution lay in his presenting to 
posterity the invaluable legacy of the past. To us, the former 
view is rather far-fetched, but it is by no means surprising 
that it should find favour in the Han period. The attempt to 



adulterate Master K'ung's teaching, as we have seen, began 
as early as the days of Tung Chung-shu. After that, further 
stimulated by the credulities of the time, writers of the Han 
dynasty started a large-scale fabrication of the K'ung texts, 
called wei (woof), as a supplement to ching (warp), the 
classics. So there existed at that time a vast apocryphal 
literature, in which Master K'ung was represented as a 
'throneless king', instituting laws for future generations, or 
as a divine being, the son of the Black Emperor, endowed 
with many supernatural gifts, among them the power of 
foretelling the future. Thus by attributing to Master K'ung 
a godhead he himself would have emphatically disclaimed, 
these Han forgers attempted to deify the sage and make his 
teaching a religion. In this they might even have succeeded, 
had it not been for the staunch opposition of the Old Script 
scholars, who brushed aside such views as purely fantastic. 
Perhaps this great irrationalism of the Modern Script 
school, more than anything else, was responsible for its ulti- 
mate decline in the second half of the Han dynasty, for im- 
mediately after Liu Hsin writers emerged who took a scepti- 
cal view of the early credulities. Among them, Yang Hsiung 
(53 B.C.-A.D. 1 8), a contemporary of Liu Hsin, led the attack 
on the Yin-yang beliefs that had contaminated the K'ung 
doctrine. He was also noted for his effort to compromise the 
dispute on human nature between Masters Meng and Hsiin 
by taking the middle position that man's nature was neither 
entirely good nor entirely bad, but a mixture of both, its de- 
velopment in either direction depending mainly on environ- 
ment. Then there was also Ma Yung (A.D. 79-166), 'the 
universal scholar', whose profound learning had attracted 
to him as many as a thousand pupils. One of them, Cheng 
Hsiian (A.D. 127-200), became later such a devotee of learn- 
ing that even the slave girls in his household, so it was said, 
would interlard their conversation with quotations from the 
Classic of Poetry. Cheng Hsiian himself, an Old Scriptist by 
training, was also a great synthesist. Instead of majoring in 
one of the canons, as would an Eruditus, he made a com- 
parative study of all the K'ung classics, on each of which he 



wrote an elaborate commentary. Eclectic by nature and 
liberal in his views, he took whatever he deemed best in both 
the old and new texts, and by so doing effected a synthesis 
of the K'ung learning that put an end, at least temporarily, 
to the century-old controversy of the scholars. 

6. The Voice of Rationalism 

ABOUT the same time there lived Wang Ch'ung (A.D. 27- 
100?,), probably the greatest thinker of the Han period. Un- 
like his fellow-scholars, who aspired to fame and position, 
Wang Ch'ung led a quiet, simple life in the country. 'Al- 
though he was poor and had not an acre to dwell on,' Wang 
Ch'ung wrote of himself, 'his mind was freer than that of 
kings and dukes, and though he had no emoluments counted 
by pecks and bushels, he felt as if he had ten thousand 
chung 6 to live upon. He enjoyed a tranquil and happy exist- 
ence, but his desires did not run riot, and though he was 
living in a state of poverty, his spirit was not broken. The 
study of ancient literature was his debauchery, and strange 
stories his relish. ... A recluse in solitary retirement, he 
sought to sift truth from falsehood/ 7 

While engaged in the task of truth-sifting Wang Ch'ung 
wrote a number of books, of which the most important was 
Lun kleng, or the Animadversions. Unique both in style and 
content, the book represented the first definite atte npt by 
any writer to break away from the ornate literary style of the 
time; it also was a lone protest against the voices of unreason 
that had dominated the Han period. In this remarkable 
book all sorts of falsehood came under attack. With keen 
observation and searching criticism, Wang Ch'ung made a 
clean sweep of all such superstitious beliefs in prodigies, 
^anomalies, ghosts, divination, and the like. But especially 
severe was his attack on the supernatural ideas of the K'ung 
scholars. Instead of attributing any human significance to 
the abnormalities of nature, Wang Ch'ung tried to rational- 
ize them by making use of the astronomical knowledge of 
his age. Thus he pointed out that on the average there was a 


lunar eclipse about every six months, and a solar eclipse 
about every forty-one or forty-two months. 'These being 
regular occurrences/ Wang Ch'ung affirmed, 'eclipses are 
independent of any political action. 5 8 And so were all the 
other anomalies and catastrophes of nature made so much 
of by Tung Chung-shu. 

Wang Ch'ung particularly disagreed with Tung's belief 
in the teleological relations between Heaven and man. He 
maintained, on the contrary, that Heaven, having neither 
mouth nor ears, could not listen to man's prayers or reply to 
questions addressed to it. 'We arc living between Heaven 
and Earth,' so Wang Ch'ung reasoned, 'like lice on the hu- 
man body. If the lice, wishing to learn from man,, emitted 
sounds near his ear, they would certainly not be heard. 
Why ? Because there is such an enormous difference in size 
between men arid lice that the utterances of the latter would 
be hardly audible. Now let us suppose that a pigmy-like 
man puts questions to Heaven and Earth, which are so 
immense. How could they understand his words or become 
acquainted with his wishes? 5 9 

Using the same argument, Wang Ch'ung also refuted the 
prevalent conception that man was the hub of the universe. 
This conception was wrong, for according to Wang Ch'ung 
man's place in the universe was no more than that of a louse 
underneath one's jacket or an arit in its tiny hill. Now, the 
louse or the ant might jump or crawl about, but could their 
movements change the atmosphere in their hiding place? 
And for that matter could man affect the phenomena of 
nature with his puny existence and his insignificant 
actions? 10 

While exposing the erroneous views of his own time, Wang 
Ch'ung also went back to wage war against the exaggera- 
tions and inaccuracies of the earlier writers. Extremely frank 
and daring in his criticism, he divested history of its many 
fantastic legends and unfounded assertions. He attacked as 
charlatanic the Taoist claim of prolonging life; he de- 
nounced as slanderous Han Fei's stricture on the scholars. 
And, though a K'ung scholar himself, Wang Ch'ung did not 



hesitate to take Master K'ung to task for the several contra- 
dictions and inconsistencies found in his recorded discourses. 
Master Meng too was subject to a critical examination and 
found guilty of defective reasoning. In all these cases, to 
Wang Ch'ung, the sceptic, the moral was that no authority 
could stand that could not prove its worth by the soundness 
of its reasoning and the strength of its intrinsic position. 

To sum up, we would say that Wang Ch'ung, one of the 
powerful critics of his time, had succeeded in a large mea- 
sure in disposing of the superstitious beliefs of the Chinese 
people - at least of the intellectuals. By so doing he con- 
tributed to the movement of the Old Script school in its 
effort to purge the K'ung philosophy of the Tin-yang ele- 
ments that had found their way into the early Han writings. 
His work, therefore, had an important bearing on the de- 
velopment of the Ju teaching. While hastening the collapse 
of the fantastic New Script ideas, Wang Ch'ung also helped 
in restoring Master K'ung to his terrestrial pedestal and his 
rightful position as the greatest of men without the aura of 

7. Master K'ung canonized 

WANG CH 'UNO'S effort notwithstanding, the attempt to 
deify Master K'ung went on uninterrupted for many cen- 
turies in and after the Han dynasty. As early as A.D. 59 a be- 
ginning was made in the K'ung cult when Emperor Ming 
(A.D. 58-75) of the Later Han dynasty ordered sacrifices, 
hitherto confined to the K'ung temple in Lu, to be made in 
all the government schools in the cities. This clearly estab- 
lished Master K'ung as the patron saint of education. In the 
meantime, Master K'ung's home at Ch'ii-fu became the 
centre of pilgrimages as well as the scene of several imperial 
visits. At such times sacrifices were offered to Master K'ung, 
and later to his seventy- two disciples as well. And one 
learns that in A.D. 72 music was introduced in the cere- 
monies when the same Emperor Ming worshipped at the 
sage's temple at Ch'ii-fu. 

After the collapse of Han there followed a long period of 



moral and political chaos in China, in which Master K'ung's 
teaching somewhat lost its hold on the intellectuals, many of 
whom turned to Taoism, and later to Buddhism, for inspira- 
tion. But the effort to accelerate the canonization of Master 
K'ung was redoubled on the part of his followers, perhaps as 
a result of the keen competition of the rival doctrines. Fol- 
lowing the Taoist and Buddhist examples, the K'ung 
scholars now began to introduce certain religious features 
into the worship of Master K'ung. These had their begin- 
nings in A.D. 178, when a likeness of the sage was used in his 
shrine in place of the simple tablets. This led further to the 
addition of wooden images in A.D. 505. In the same year the 
first temple in Master K'ung's honour was built at Nanking, 
the capital of the southern Liang dynasty. Half a century 
later, K'ung temples rose in almost every prefectural city 
throughout the empire. At the same time a complete code of 
sacrificial ritual had been drawn up for the worship of 
Master K'ung. When China was reunited by the T'ang 
rulers in the seventh century, the K'ung cult was already 
well established. 

The canonization of Master K'ung was followed by the 
ennoblement of the K'ung family. Master K'ung himself 
was made Duke Ni in the first century A.D., and later pro- 
moted to the rank of the Illustrious Prince of Culture in the 
eighth century. His ancestors too were given posthumous 
honours, while his lineal descendants became hereditary 
marquises and dukes. Endowed with land, revenue, and 
title, these scions of the K'ung house - the greatest, the 
noblest, and the oldest the world ever knew - were able to 
maintain the tradition of their sagely progenitor as scholars 
and officials and in the course of centuries to rise to great 

But from our point of view the most important attempt to 
immortalize Master K'ung was the inscribing of the K'ung 
classics on stone tablets as a lasting memorial to the Master's 
greatness. In view of the loss of time and labour over the 
controversial texts, it was decided to perpetuate these great 
books in a more permanent medium than the easily perish- 



able bamboo slips, silk parchment, and paper, which came 
into general use in the Later Han dynasty. The first attempt 
in this direction was made in the second century A.D. Super- 
vising the work of engraving on stone was Ts'ai Yung (A.D. 
133-92), a famous scholar noted for his tippling propensi- 
ties. But in this arduous work of love Ts'ai Yung was ex- 
tremely sober, as he wrote out with red ink in a beautiful 
hand the authorized text of the Five Classics in forty-six 
large tablets for the craftsman to cut. When the work was 
done the tablets were placed in one of the imperial colleges 
in the Han capital. Fragments of them, it is said, are still in 

Ever since then the engraving of the classical books has 
been repeated on a number of occasions. In later times the 
scope of engraving was considerably widened to include all 
the classical works of the Chou dynasty to the number of 
thirteen. 11 Portions of those stone books, especially the A.D. 
837 edition engraved in Chang-an, capital of the T'ang 
dynasty, actually survived the wreckage of time and are pre- 
served to this day. 

Finally, the invention of printing from wooden blocks 
saved for ever the Ju classics from the fate of oblivion. The 
first printed collection of the canonical books appeared in 
A.D. 953, a mammoth work that took twenty-one years to 
accomplish. After that, innumerable publications followed. 
Thus at long last were perpetuated the teachings of Master 
K'ung in a countless number of texts, commentaries, expo- 
sitions, etc., that form the most important section of a 
Chinese library. 


Chapter Nine 


i. A Light from 'the Western World' 1 

IN the Later Han dynasty, which saw the great triumph of 
the Ju school, there was also introduced to the Chinese people 
a new philosophy of life destined to be a formidable rival to 
the K'ung system. Buddhism, however, was not founded by 
a native son of Han, but by a prince of India, Gautama 
Buddha, who lived - a happy coincidence - about the same 
time as Master K'ung. His religion had its beginning in 
northern India, whence it spread, after a period of growth 
and popularity in the third century B.C., to the Greco-Bac- 
trian kingdoms of Central Asia. It was there that the Chinese 
first heard of this foreign religion that was to exert an influ- 
ence on Chinese life comparable to that of Taoism and the 
K'ung dogma. 

History records that Emperor Ming of the Later Han dy- 
nasty, who had started the K'ung cult by ordering sacrificial 
offerings to be made to the sage in the government schools, 
was also responsible for the introduction of Buddhism to 
China in the first century A.D. According to a well-known 
story, the emperor was haunted in his dreams by the vision 
of a golden man enveloped in a bright halo; later, upon the 
advice of his courtiers, he sought the new divinity in 'the 
countries of the far west', with which the Han people had 
recently come into contact. A mission dispatched for this 
purpose came back from Central Asia in A.D. 67 with many 
Buddhist images and scriptures as well as two Indian monks. 
These were housed at the White Horse Monastery, outside 
the Later Han capital at Lo-yang, where they made a trans- 
lation of the Sutra of Forty- two Sections, the first Buddhist 
work to be rendered into the Chinese language. 

After this auspicious beginning Buddhism spread far and 



wide in China during the dark ages when the country was 
torn by civil strife and foreign invasion, and when the hold 
of the K'ung scholars on the government was insecure. By 
the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. there was an immense ex- 
pansion of Buddhism in both the South and the North, into 
which the nation was then divided. In consequence, a large 
number of the Chinese population accepted the alien creed. 
At one time as many as nine-tenths of the inhabitants in 
north-west China were said to have embraced the new faith. 
Some of the devotees also took Buddhist orders, while others, 
like the famous monk Fa Hsien (fifth century A.D.) made 
long arduous journeys to India to drink deep at the fountain- 
head of Buddhist wisdom. 

In A.D. 517, during the reign of Emperor Wu of the 
southern Liang dynasty, the first Tripitaka, a collection of 
Buddhist scriptures, was published. A Buddhist votary him- 
self, the emperor even contemplated enrolling himself in the 
monastic order and twice forsook the luxury of the palace 
for the sanctity of the monastery, only to be twice taken back 
to his throne by his courtiers, who each time paid a large 
sum of money to ransom His Imperial Majesty from his self- 
imposed confinement. Several years later, at the age of 
eighty-six, Emperor Wu lost his life when he was besieged 
by a rebel general. For this unhappy end he won for him- 
self the derision of the K'ung scholars, who alleged that the 
emperor had preached Buddhism so effectively to his officers 
that they would not mount their horses to fight for him. 

The reasons for the great popularity of Buddhism in this 
long period of darkness are not far to seek. For one thing, 
Buddhism, which promised salvation from worldly suffer- 
ings, was the one light from 'the Western world' that beck- 
oned hopefully to all despairing souls ; it also brought with it 
the cheerful message of a happy life in its thirty- two heavens. 
It gave, in other words, comfort and encouragement to the 
seething millions of a vast empire trapped in war and misery. 
This other-worldly attraction was exactly what the K'ung 
dogma failed to give, its supreme ethical and political teach- 
ings notwithstanding; for as a philosophy of life the native 


doctrine had no means of satisfying the spiritual needs of a 
people in times of turmoil and bewilderment. Buddhism, 
therefore, came happily to offer suffering humanity the long- 
awaited consolation of religion. 

2. An Attack on Buddha 9 s Finger-bone 

THIS, however, wa,s only one side of the argument. On the 
other, it must be pointed out that Buddhism as a religion 
was essentially incompatible with the best traditions of the 
native civilization. To the Ju scholars the alien creed was 
especially nefarious because of its anti-social practices, such 
as celibacy, asceticism, and mutilation. History records, for 
iviStance, numerous cases of Buddhist fanatics who burned 
their fingers and arms, and even their bodies, while chanting 
the sacred names of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in order to 
attain salvation. These un-Chinese ways naturally aroused 
the resentment of the orthodox, to whom it was a sacred 
duty, as Master Tseng, the arch filial-pietist, had once ob- 
served, to keep whole and unharmed the human body that 
was the gift of one's parents. It is no wonder that the follow- 
ers of K'ung were so thoroughly alarmed by this 'barbaric* 
faith that had overrun the country that they protested vo- 
ciferously against it. 

The most famous denunciation of Buddhism came from 
Han Yii (768-824), a great poet and essayist of the T'ang 
dynasty, posthumously honoured as the * Prince of Litera- 
ture'. As a K'ung scholar, Han Yii was an adherent of Meng 
K'o, and instrumental in raising the latter, then considered 
only as one of the numerous followers of the school, to his 
eminent position as the 'Second Sage'. In a famous essay en- 
titled 'On the Origin of Tao\ Han Yii wrote: 'This tao Yao 
transmitted to Shun, Shun transmitted to Yii, Yii transmit- 
ted to Tang, Tang transmitted to Wen and Wu, 2 and the 
Duke of Chou. These handed it down to Master K'ung, who 
passed it on to Meng K'o. After the latter 's death, the suc- 
cession was lost.' 3 This, in effect, placed Master Meng as 
next only to Master K'ung in the orthodox hierarchy. Since 



then, Meng K'o's new status has gained general acceptance 
among scholars and his works have become a basic text of 
theju school. 

According to Han Yii, the chief reason for the decline of 
tao could be attributed to the spread of Taoist and Buddhist 
'heresies'. He charged their followers with withdrawing 
themselves from the world, the state, and the family, and of 
fleeing from the eternal obligations of society, with the un- 
happy result that 'sons would not submit themselves to their 
fathers, subjects would not submit themselves to their sover- 
eigns, and the people would no longer occupy themselves 
with their duties.' 4 Because of these evil consequences, Han 
Yii, the greatest champion of tao after Meng K 4 o, advocated 
that all Buddhist books be burned, Buddhist temples con- 
verted to human homes, and the monks and nuns restored 
to normal living. 'Thus and thus only,' maintained Han Yii, 
'could there be the wherewithal to feed the widow and the 
orphan, to nourish the crippled and the sick/ 6 i.e. in accord- 
ance with the ideals of the Great Commonwealth, to attain 
which was now impossible because of the demoralizing in- 
fluences of the foreign religion. 

Han Yii is particularly remembered for his single-handed 
battle against the Buddhist superstitions of his day, an evil 
that had grown rampant during the reigns of the T'ang em- 
perors, most of whom were either Taoist or Buddhist sympa- 
thizers. The battle itself centred around an imperial edict by 
Emperor Hsien (806-20) ordering a grand palace reception 
for a reputed finger-bone of Gautama Buddha, which was 
being sent from a frontier city to the T'ang capital at Chang- 
an. Against this royal credulity, Han Yii, alone of all the 
officials at court, raised his voice. This was expressed in a 
candid memorial to the throne, in which he first pointed out 
the foreign origin of the Buddhist faith; then denounced its 
founder as only a 'barbarian' from the Western kingdom, 
who, neither speaking the Chinese language nor dressed in 
the Chinese manner, was moreover ignorant of the great 
father-and-son and sovereign-and-subject relations; then 
branded as a piece of 'preposterous mummery' the reception 



of such a savage relic as Buddha's finger-bone; next, dwelt 
at large on the possible evil effects of the imperial patronage 
of this alien cult 6 ; and ended by advising the emperor to 
destroy the relic by fire or water, thereby exterminating this 
pernicious cult at its source. 'And,' Han Yu added, 'should 
Buddha have power to avenge this insult by the infliction of 
some misfortune, then let his wrath be visited upon the per- 
son of your servant, who now calls upon Heaven above to 
witness that he will not repent him of his oath. 5 7 

Ironically enough it was not the wrath of the foreign god, 
but that of the emperor, that descended upon the memorial- 
ist. Han Yii was at first sentenced to death by the infuriated 
monarch, but later, at the intercession of his friends at court, 
pardoned and banished to the southern wilds of Chao- 
chow 8 to live among the aborigines cursed with plague and 
ignorance. The exile, however, did not daunt Han Yii's spirit. 
Here again he battled with his mighty pen against another 
monstrosity - this time a crocodile that was devastating the 
riverside by seizing whatever it could lay its fangs on : fowls, 
cattle, and human beings. Against this accursed reptile Han 
Yii wrote his famous ultimatum, and the formidable words 
of the scholar-governor so frightened the evil-doer that it 
soon vanished into the boundless sea. 

Nor was Han Yii wholly unrecompenscd for his cham- 
pionship of the true faith. Though he himself did not live 
to see the great day of victory, it came some twenty years 
after his death when, in A.D. 845, another T'ang emperor 
(Emperor Wu, 841-6) ordered the dissolution of all the for- 
eign religious houses throughout the empire. As a result of 
this proscription Buddhism alone had 4,600 of its monasteries 
destroyed, 40,000 of its temples and shrines demolished, and 
265,000 of its devotees returned to secular life. A severe blow 
indeed! But even this did not put an end to Buddhism in 
China, as it did to the other alien creeds like Nestorianism, 
Zoroastrianism, and Manichaeism 9 that had been intro- 
duced to the Chinese during the T'ang period. 1 Here again it 
must be noted, as a matter of historical interest,!! that the mo- 
tivating force behind this persecution of foreign religions was 



not the K'ung dogma, but Taoism, to which not a few of the 
T'ang sovereigns, including Emperor Wu, were addicted. 

3. Two Friends in a Great Debate 

WHILE Han Yii was a typical scholar of his age, loyal, out- 
spoken, and intolerant of foreign ideas, his friend Liu Tsung- 
yiian (773-819), though no less orthodox by training and 
110 less a poet and essayist, was of a diiferent mould. In their 
personal lives the two had cemented a friendship that was 
immortal; but in their intellectual convictions they were 
widely apart. Not being a spirited fighter like Han Yii, Liu 
Tsung-yiian represented a growing tendency among the 
scholars towards philosophical compromise and amalgama- 
tion that began asserting itself in the T'ang dynasty and cul- 
minated later in the Sung. This eclectic tendency was highly 
characteristic of Chinese thinking, and when applied to phi- 
losophy it became a practical attempt to show the similarity, 
if not the identity, of the fundamental tenets of China's three 
great doctrines : Ju, Tao, and Fo (Buddhism) . 

The hatred of superstition, to be sure, was shared alike by 
the two friends. Like his learned compeer, Liu Tsung-yiian 
had objections to 'the bald pates of the monks, their dark 
robes, their renunciation of domestic ties, and their idle- 
ness.' 10 But, unlike his friend, Liu was broadminded enough 
to see through the husks the beautiful kernel of this foreign 
cult, which he found to have a great deal in common with 
the teachings of Master K'ung. In fact, Liu believed that 
much of Buddhism was in perfect harmony with human na- 
ture and coincident with the principles found in the classics. 
At the same time, Liu accused as prejudicial Han Yii's ani- 
mosity towards Buddhism because of its 'barbaric' origin. 
But if this argument is good for anything, objected Liu 
Tsung-yiian, 'then we might find ourselves embracing brig- 
ands who happened to be our fellow-countrymen, while 
neglecting virtuous men who happened to be foreigners! 
Surely this would be a hollow mockery indeed !' u 

Furthermore, Liu Tsung-yiian had a good word or two 



for his Buddhist friends, some of whom were fine scholars of 
a placid temperament and subdued passions. The majority 
of the priests too, as he had found out, loved only to lead a 
simple life of contemplation amid the charms of hills and 
streams. Then he continued : 'And when I am disgusted with 
the hurry-scurry of our age in its daily race and struggle for 
the seals and tassels of oflice, I ask myself whom I am to fol- 
low, if not them.' 12 It is obvious that Liu Tsung-yiian was 
not a busy office-seeker as most of his colleagues were and 
that the time had come when even K'ung scholars would 
turn recluses. 

4. c The Restoration of Human Nature* 

AT this time in our narrative it may not be out of place to 
ask: Wherein are the beauties of the Buddhistic teaching 
that appeared so attractive to such a fine scholar as Liu 
Tsung-yiian ? In answering this question we must first make 
a distinction between the two aspects of Buddhism, its philo- 
sophical core and its superstitious rind. The Chinese intel- 
lectuals, who had like Wang Ch'ung waged war against the 
credulities of their own people, naturally took unkindly to 
the fanatical practices of a foreign religion. But these merely 
constitute the lode, to use another of Liu Tsung-yiian's 
phrases, which should not prejudice us from admiring the 
golden ore of philosophy it contains. As a matter of fact, so 
far as Buddhist philosophy was concerned, even Han Yii, its 
inveterate foe, had little to complain about. His attack, as 
we have seen, was mainly directed at the popular supersti- 
tions and the anti-social influences of the monastic orders. 
There was little of the Buddhist thought itself to which Han 
Yii objected. On the contrary, later scholars have suspected 
that even Han Yii himself had imbibed, perhaps unconsci- 
ously, a good dose of Buddhism in his views on human nature. 
This indebtedness was more apparent in the writings of Li 
Ao (died c. 844), another friend of Han Yii's. Like the latter, 
the younger man was a devoted follower of the orthodox too. 
In his essay on the 'Restoration of Human Nature 5 he re- 
iterated Han Yii's idea of the transmission of tao, plus his 



own hope of being a link in the transmission. After having 
defined tao as 'the utmost sincerity inherent in the nature of 
a sage,' Li Ao continued : * Whenever someone asks me about 
it, I always tell him what I know. So I now commit this to 
writing . . . with the hope that I may be able to transmit to 
my age the tao that has long been neglected and aban- 
doned. 313 

Li Ao, however, was more of an apologist than a cham- 
pion. Instead of denouncing Buddhism and Taoism out- 
right, he adopted a more conciliatory attitude by asserting 
that there was really nothing new in these two unorthodox 
philosophies, and that the best in them could be found as 
well in the Ju dogma. Take, for example, the questions of 
human nature and destiny that had aroused so much inter- 
est and speculation among the scholars of his time. Whereas 
his contemporaries would go to the scriptures of Lao-tzu and 
Buddha for enlightenment on these subjects, Li Ao claimed 
that the final word on them had long been spoken by the 
writers of the K'ung school. To bear out his contention he 
ransacked the classics for passages that paralleled Buddhist 
and Taoist ideas from which to draw conclusions along the 
orthodox line. In this way Li Ao initiated a very important 
movement for formulating from all the available sources the 
new theories of human nature and the universe that were to 
occupy the attention of the later philosophers. 

This represents also a beginning in the syncretization of 
Chinese thought, for which Li Ao set a precedent for later 
generations - the precedent, that is, of seeking from the 
K'ung classics a solution of the metaphysical and super- 
moral problems that were intriguing the intellectuals of the 
new age. Particularly useful to these seekers of tao were the 
Classic of Change with its 'Appendices', The Great Learning, the 
Doctrine of the Mean, and the Meng-tzu, all of which now 
gained, because of their rich philosophical contents, an in- 
creasingly important status in the eyes of scholars. More- 
over, as a result of this tendency, much that was originally 
in Buddhism was also taken over by the K'ung scholars to 
form a new philosophy of their own. 



5. Contemplation and Enlightenment 

IN the meantime Buddhism was, as was everything foreign, 
beginning to undergo a great change in the course of its 
growth on Chinese soil. Not entirely at home with the alien 
creed, Chinese thinkers soon evolved teachings of their own 
that differed greatly from the original doctrines as taught by 
the Indian monks of the early centuries. Among these new 
sects the one that was to exert a considerable influence on 
Chinese thinking was Ch'anism, so named from the Sanskrit 
word dhyana, meaning 'ecstatic meditation'. This school of 
Chinese Buddhism claimed as its founder the famous Indian 
monk Tamo (Bodhidharma), who came to China at the time 
of Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty. According to a well- 
known legend, Tamo, a very wise teacher of the Law, once 
crossed the wide Yangtze on a reed; another story, more 
miraculous still, asserts that it was from Tamo's eyelids that 
the tea plant first sprang to give the Chinese their favourite 
beverage. Tamo was also credited with the following saying: 
4 You cannot find Buddha in books. Look into your own 
heart, and there you will find him.' u Hence, the four maxims 
of Ch'anism are : 

1 . Special transmission outside the scriptures. 

2. No dependence upon written words. 

3. Direct communication to the soul. 

4. Search into one's own nature for the attainment of Budda- 
hood. 16 

Apart from its legendary founder the Ch'an school was 
entirely Chinese in its patriarchal succession. Likewise, it 
was also more Chinese than Indian in its emphasis on in- 
tuitive learning, its belief in sudden enlightenment, its dis- 
carding of the fundamental Buddhist concept of reincarna- 
tion, and its general disregard for theological and ritualistic 
aspects. In due time Chinese Buddhism, as a school of 
thought, was to be divorced from all the paraphernalia of 
rites, charms, and spells, as well as the pantheons of gods 



and demons. These latter were driven underground to blend 
with the other indigenous religious elements to form a vast 
network of superstitious beliefs to which the mind of the 
Chinese people has clung to this day. 

The story of the Ch'an sect with its numerous divisions is 
too complicated to be told here. Suffice it to say that it was 
divided mainly into two schools, the southern and the north- 
ern. The former, which was more influential and prosper- 
ous, had as its founder Hui-neng (638-7 1 3) , the sixth patri- 
arch of the school, who was chosen by his predecessor on the 
merit of a single poem, in which he summarized the essence 
of the Ch'an teaching. According to the story, Shen-hsiu 
(died 706) , an elder disciple of the fifth patriarch and con- 
sidered by many worthy to be his successor, had previously 
written the following lines: 

The body is like the knowledge tree; 
The mind is like a mirror stand, - 
It should be constantly cleansed, 
Lest dust should settle on it. , 

But Hui-neng, though an illiterate monk who could hardly 
write his own name, was dissatisfied with these verses and, 
in a moment of inspiration, improvised : 

There is no such thing as a knowledge tree; 
There is no such thing as a mirror stand. 
There being nothing that has a real existence, 
How then could the dust settle thereon? 18 

Since this poem was considered much superior to the first 
because of its greater understanding of, and deeper insight 
into, the truth, Hui-neng was made the sixth patriarch of 
the Ch'an sect. This, however, did not deter Shen-hsiu from 
starting the northern branch of Ch'anism, and the two 
schools flourished side by side, competing with each other 
in a spirit of mutual encouragement and rivalry. 

The most remarkable Buddhist scholar of the period was 
Tsung-mi (780-841), patriarch of the Hua-yen sect. Tsung- 
mi had been trained in his earlier years in the Ch'an 



principles, of which he had been an assiduous student. 
Besides his invaluable work on Ch'anism, which he com- 
pared at great length with the other Buddhist sects, Tsung-mi 
also made a thorough study of the various theories on the 
origin of man. In one of his essays on the subject, while con- 
sidering both the Ju and Tao doctrines as unsound, he never- 
theless admitted that they too had in them some glimpse of 
truth. In fact, what Tsung-mi attempted was to syncretize 
from the Buddhist point of view the teachings of the three 
great Chinese schools; and much that he said about the 
emotional nature, the intuitive mind, and the origin of the 
universe had important implications for the K'ung theorizers 
of a later age. Thus, on the one hand, Tsung-mi summarized 
for posterity the Buddhist lore of the T'ang dynasty, and on 
the other, though a Buddhist himself, paved the way for the 
Neo-Ju philosophy of the Sung and Ming periods. 

6. The Whole Universe is Man's Dwelling-place 

TAOISM, another important school of Chinese thought, had 
also undergone great changes in the centuries following Lao- 
tzu and Chuang Chou. Generally speaking, philosophical 
Taoism never regained the brilliancy it had lost since its hey- 
day in the Chou dynasty. To be sure, there was a brief re- 
vival under the patronage of Prince Hui-nan (died 122 B.C.) 
in the early Han period, but it soon degenerated to blend 
with the supernatural ideas of the Yin-yang school, the 
search for the elixir of life, the belief in ghosts and spirits, and 
the practice of divination, alchemy, and exorcism into a re- 
ligious Taoism that was fundamentally different from, and 
in many respects diametrically opposed to, philosophical 

As a bonafide religion, Taoism did not develop until the 
Later Han dynasty. At that time there lived one Chang Ling 
(A.D. 34-156), who, claiming longevity and the power of 
miraculous healing, founded the so-called Five-Bushel-Rice 
sect. This being a time of political chaos and social disinte- 
gration, he easily attracted to his sect converts who each 


paid five bushels of grain as an initiation fee. From its start 
in western China the sect spread to the whole country, 
where it amalgamated with the other superstitious groups of 
the time to form the Taoist religion. Subsequently Chang's 
successors were honoured as the Heavenly Teachers of Tao 
and worshipped by peasants and emperors alike. 

Though Lao-tzu's connexion with the new religion was 
more or less nominal, his Classic of Tao was now exalted as 
the Taoist scripture, and Lao-tzu himself the chief deity. 
This movement was probably in line with a similar one, as 
we have already seen, to deify Master K'ung. But whereas 
the followers of the K'ung school had failed to make Ju a 
religion and Master K'ung a god, the Taoist believers had 
succeeded in making Lao-tzu the titular head of their cult. 
Since then a great confusion has resulted from the mixture 
of the philosophical and religious elements in Taoism, and it 
is as difficult to separate the one from the other as it is to 
separate gold from its matrix. 

This did not mean, of course, that Taoism was no longer 
alive as a philosophy. As such it survived in the works of its 
numerous commentators and critics. In fact, the best expo- 
sition of this philosophy appeared in the third century A.D. 
in Wang Pi's (226-49) Commentary on the Classic of Tao and 
Hsiang Hsiu's (c. 221-300) Commentary on the Chuang-tzu, 
later completed by Kuo Hsiang (died c. 312). Also note- 
worthy is the fact that a large number of these Taoist 
writers like Ho Yen (died 249) and Wang Pi had invaded 
the domains of the K'ung school by appropriating the Classic 
of Change and explaining it in the light of the Taoist creed. 
Thus Wang Pi, Lao-tzu's commentator, wrote on the Change 
as a Taoist classic, while Ho Yen went so far as to base his 
interpretation of the Analects on the teachings of Lao-tzu and 
Chuang Chou. This of course had the happy effect of recon- 
ciling and harmonizing the Ju and Tao schools of thought; 
and, strange to say, the K'ung scholars themselves later ac- 
cepted this Taoist interpretation of the K'ung doctrine. 

The rivalry of these two schools, however, did not imme- 
diately end here. Their fundamental incompatibility was 



clearly shown in the rebellion of many Taoist recluses 
against the moral and social conventions of the time. To 
mention only one example: In the same tumultuous third 
century, when China was plagued by war and dissension, 
there lived in the north a group of Taoist literati who styled 
themselves The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. Though 
some of them had in fact a chequered official life, they all 
exalted wit-wei as the supreme virtue of life and disdained 
the rules of propriety as taught by the K'ung moralists. In- 
stead of serving their country, they drowned themselves in 
wine and song and had more days of intoxication than sober- 
ness. Nature alone was their object of worship, and moun- 
tains and woods their passion - hence the name The Seven 
Sages of the Bamboo Grove. 

Yuan Chi (2 10-63), tnc most famous of this group, drama- 
tized his revolt against the ethical inhibitions of the period 
by drinking and playing on the guitar at his mother's death. 
Scorning the decencies of life, he would appear in public 
with his hair dishevelled and his robes untidy. With a tem- 
perament like this. Yuan was naturally disgusted with the 
fastidious and pompous manners of the scholars, whom he 
satirized in his essay 'The Life of these Honourable Gentle- 
men'. These he derided as being prudish, narrow-minded, 
circumspect in their action, and conservative in their belief. 
'But,' continued Yuan Chi, 'have you ever noticed the lice 
in your pants ? Seeking refuge in the deep seams, and hiding 
themselves in the worn cotton shreds, they consider their 
dwelling place safe. Their movements limited therein, they 
think their life well-regulated. Nevertheless, when fire 
spreads in the city, and houses are burned down and their 
inmates killed, no lice that live in the pants will be able to 
escape from death. Yet, what difference is there between 
these lice and those honourable gentlemen, who too are 
confined to their narrow sphere?' 17 

Another member of the group, Liu Ling (c. 221-300), 
was noted for his Bacchanalian propensities, which he de- 
fended in a spirited 'Eulogy on the Virtue of Wine'. Travel- 
ling in a cart drawn by a deer, he was wont to have a servant 



following him with ajar of wine, and another with a spade, 
so that he could be buried wherever he fell, dead and drunk. 
An early advocate of nudism, Liu Ling would remain com- 
pletely naked in his room. When surprised by visitors, the 
happy nudist would protest : 'With the whole universe as my 
dwelling place, my room here is just my clothing. Why, 
then, do you enter into my pants ?' 18 

Such Taoist eccentricities, to be sure, were only the ab- 
normal signs of a turbulent age, and as the times changed 
their vogue soon passed away. In the centuries following no 
sharp conflict developed between Taoism and Ju, as both 
were being threatened by the advent of a new rival, Budd- 
hism. From then on a battle royal was fought between Tao- 
ism and Buddhism, both of which had so much in common 
and yet so much in opposition. While borrowing heavily 
from one another - the Buddhists the Taoist language, and 
the Taoists the Buddhist ritual - they were never wholly 
reconciled and the fight for supremacy continued for cen- 
turies. During the T'ang dynasty the Taoists rose once more 
to power when the T'ang emperors, whose surname was Li, 
adopted Lao -tan, whose surname was also Li, as their great 
ancestor. Hence the Taoist founder was honoured as the 
'Most High Mythical Emperor', superior in rank not only to 
Buddha but also to K'ung Gh'iu ; the Taoist religion was ex- 
alted as a state cult ; and the Classic of Tao with a commen- 
tary by one of the emperors was engraved on stone tablets in 
the Taoist monasteries throughout the empire. At the same 
time the monopoly of bureaucracy by the Ju scholars was 
disputed by the Taoists, many of whom entered government 
service as well as the Board of Eruditi. 

But this imperial patronage did not forestall the degenera- 
tion of Taoism from a metaphysical system to a vulgar cult. 
In the course of centuries Taoism suffered from the same 
fate as Buddhism in its downward plunge. As a matter of 
fact the decline of both was complete in the Sung dynasty, 
when the best of their teachings was pilfered by the K'ung 
scholars to form a new philosophy of their own. The rise 
of the Neo-Ju school, therefore, tolled the knell of both 



Buddhism and Taoism as philosophies. Thus, after many 
vicissitudes, the K'ung doctrine, alone of the three, now 
came to dominate the Chinese scene as the only great 
school of thought, leaving to its rivals the dross of 


Chapter Ten 


i. A Tribute to the Sung Philosophers 

THERE was a noticeable difference in the achievements of 
the two great periods of Chinese philosophy, the Ghou and 
the Sung. Just as the Chinese intellect suddenly burst forth 
into bloom in the earlier period with its colourful * hundred 
schools', so it now ripened through the cultivation of the 
Sung scholars into a more mature, complete, and well- 
rounded system of philosophy that was to reign supreme in 
Chinese intellectual circles for more than 700 years. This 
fruition of thought was brought about by the K'ung follow- 
ers who were versed in the Buddhist and Taoist ideologies, 
and who therefore were able to extend the horizon of the 
orthodox doctrine of ethics and politics to include cos- 
mology and metaphysics. Limited by the materials at their 
disposal (for these scholars confined themselves to the au- 
thority of the K'ung classics), they had a hard time in trying 
to expound what they conceived of the origin of the uni- 
verse and the theory of human nature. A tribute, therefore, 
is due to these Sung philosophers who succeeded in formu- 
lating a system of thought that has satisfied the inquiring 
mind of the Chinese people until the introduction of Western 
ideas in the recent years. 

2. In the Den of Tranquil Delight 

BEFORE we turn to this new philosophy let us pause briefly 
to have a look at the great personalities responsible for its 
creation. We shall begin with Shao Yung (1011-77), wn > 
though poor, was happy in his Den of Tranquil Delight in 
the suburbs of the great city of Lo-yang.. This retreat, a 
small cottage with an attached garden, was given to Shao 


Yung by his friends so that he could have a place of shelter 
from wind and rain. Life was a rosy one for the Master of 
Tranquil Delight, by which name Shao Yung preferred to 
be called, for his was an ideal existence for a poor philoso- 
pher. With fruit and vegetables from his own garden, three 
or four cups of wine to exhilarate his spirit, the puzzles of 
metaphysics to ponder upon, and books and occasional visi- 
tors to keep him company, Shao Yung had nothing else in 
this world to desire. 

Many of Shao Yung's friends were distinguished. Some 
entertained great ambitions to uplift the country, to im- 
prove society, and to attain moral perfection ; while others, 
the more philosophical ones, even aspired to solve the im- 
ponderable mysteries of the universe. They were poets, 
essayists, historians, philosophers, and statesmen, two of 
whom had had brilliant careers at court. But those were evil 
times, and they had retired to Lo-yang, within a short dis- 
tance from Kai-feng, the Sung capital, to avoid persecution 
by a powerful 'New Deal' faction at court, headed by Wang 
An-shih, a radical reformer, who was now in the saddle as 
premier of the empire. One of Shao Yung's great friends, 
Ssu-ma Kuang, for instance, had once led the conservative 
opposition, and many a hot controversy he had had with his 
opponent not only on political issues but also on literary 
ones. For it must be admitted that Wang An-shih, the radi- 
cal thinker, was also a superb classical scholar. So the feud, 
as we see it to-day, was merely a family squabble between 
two camps of K'ung scholars who, having monopolized the 
government, now quarrelled violently among themselves on 
administrative measures as well as on the interpretation of 
the classics. 

Among the visitors to the Den there were, besides the 
statesman-historian Ssu-ma Kuang, a number of promising 
scholars and budding philosophers. They were, to mention 
only a few, Chang Tsai (1020-76), who had given public in- 
struction on the Classic of Change while sitting on a tiger skin, 
an emblem of fierce majesty; and the Gh'eng brothers, 
Ch'eng Hao (1032-85), genial and graceful, and Ch'eng I 



(1033-1107), spirited and industrious, both brilliant young 
men who had plunged deep into the well of philosophy. 
Thus many a midnight candle the host and his guests must 
have burned as they discussed the heated intellectual ques- 
tions of the day, for it was by these men that the Neo-Ju 
movement was initiated. 

3. The Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate 

THE only philosopher outside of Shao Yung's group who 
contributed substantially to the movement was Chou Tun-i 
(1017-75), a cosmologist. But even Chou was not uncon- 
nected with the group, as he was in fact the tutor of the two 
Ch'engs. Though six years younger than Shao Yung, Chou 
was considered the founder of the new philosophy, and he 
together with Shao Yung and Chang Tsai formed the great 
trio in the first stage of its development. Therefore, before 
we discuss the others, we shall first turn to Chou. 

Chou Tun-i is credited with having introduced into the Ju 
philosophy the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate, a for- 
mula probably of Taoist origin. The Diagram, so it has been 
claimed, was first devised by Ch'en T'uan, a Taoist im- 
mortal who lived in the tenth century. After a line of trans- 
mission, which can still be traced, it finally came to the 
hands of the philosopher Chou, who adopted it with a few 
modifications as the basis of his cosmological views, which he 
set forth in a famous treatise entitled 'The Diagram of the 
Supreme Ultimate Explained*. This work he consigned to 
his pupils, the Ch'eng brothers, who in turn passed it on to 
their students, until it came at last into the hands of Chu Hsi 
(1130-1200), in whom the Sung philosophy reached its 

Whatever its origin, the Diagram, as 'explained* by Mas- 
ter Chou, was entirely orthodox in both content and pur- 
port. As has been pointed out, the Classic of Change, originally 
a work of divination and a K'ung classic, served conveni- 
ently as a bridge between the teachings of the Taoist and Ju 
schools. The term 'Supreme Ultimate', for instance, was 



taken from an obscure passage in the Change, while the other 
ideas in Master Chou's cosmology, such zsyin a.ndyang and 
the five elements, had long been incorporated, as the reader 
may recall, into the K'ung philosophy by such Han scholars 
as Tung Chung-shu and others. 

A classic itself essential for an understanding of the new 
philosophy, Master Chou's 'Explanations' of the Diagram 
should be studied with care. It begins with a theory of cosmic 
evolution, commonly accepted by later scholars, as follows : 

The Ultimate! ess! And yet the Supreme Ultimate! The Supreme 
Ultimate through Movement produces the Tang. This Movement, 
having reached its limit, is followed by Quiescence, and by this 
Quiescence, it produces the Tin. When Quiescence has reached its 
limit, there is a return to Movement. Thus Movement and Quies- 
cence, in alternation, become each the source of the other. The 
distinction between the Tin and Tang is determined, and the Two 
Forms (the Tin and Tang) are established. 

By the transformation of the Tang and the union therewith of the 
Hn, Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth are produced. These 
Five Elements (or Ethers, ch'i) become diffused in harmonious 
order, and the four seasons proceed in their course. . . . 

The true substance of the Ultimatelessand the essence of the 
Two (Forms) and Five (Elements) unite in mysterious union, so 
that consolidation ensues. The principle ofChi'en (the hexagram m 
symbolizing the Tang) becomes the male element, and the prin- 
ciple of K*un (the hexagram 4= symbolizing the Tin) becomes 
the female element. The Two Ethers (Tin and Tang) by their inter- 
action operate to produce the Myriad Things, and these in their 
turn produce and reproduce, so that transformation and change 
continue without end. 1 

The second part of the * Explanations' contains Master 
Chou's ethical theory, in which man was regarded as the 
highest of all creations, and the sage the greatest of all men. 
Then the treatise continues : 

Man alone, however, receives these (Ethers) in their highest excel- 
lence and hence is the most intelligent (of all beings). His bodily 



form being thus produced, there is developed in his spirit intelli- 
gence and consciousness. The five principles of his nature react (to 
external phenomena) so that the distinction between good and 
evil emerges, and the myriad phenomena of conduct appear. 

The sage regulates himself by the Mean and the Correct, by 
Human-heartedness and Righteousness; he takes Quiescence as 
the essential. Thus he establishes himself as the highest standard for 
mankind. 2 

After this the treatise goes on to stress further the relation 
between the moral and the physical worlds as well as the 
unity of the sage with the universe : 

Hence the sage synchronizes with Heaven and Earth in his nature, 
with the sun and moon in his enlightenment, with the course of the 
seasons in his orderliness, and with the spiritual beings in his des- 
tiny. So good fortune comes to the superior man who cultivates 
sagehood ; and evil befalls the mean fellow who refuses to follow it. 8 

In conclusion, Master Chou gives an exalted opinion of the 
Classic of Change, which he claims was here presented in its 

4. The Magic of Numbers 

WE have already gained a glimpse of the life of Shao Yung, 
the second proponent of the Neo-Ju philosophy. Like most 
of his contemporaries, Shao Yung returned to the orthodox 
fold, after a period of wandering in the mythical path of 
Buddhism and Taoism, to become an expert in the Classic of 
Change. A versatile writer, he composed a volume of songs 
delineating the beauties of nature on the River Yi, a dia- 
logue between a fisherman and a woodcutter on the ques- 
tions of speculative and practical philosophy, and a treatise 
on cosmological chronology, upon which his fame rests. The 
last work also contains chapters on the 'Study of Phe- 
nomena', generally considered his best, in which he applied 
his theory of numbers to human affairs. 

Shao Yung's philosophy, also based upon the Change^ has 
its starting point in the eight trigrams supposed to have been 
invented by Fu Hsi, one of the mythical emperors of 



antiquity. 4 Later, the trigrams, so tradition asserts, received 
systematic treatment in the hands of King Wen, founder of 
the Chou dynasty, and the Duke of Chou, and soon became 
the basis of metaphysics and occultism as set forth in the 
Classic of Change. Meanwhile, in the course of their develop- 
ment in the early Chou dynasty, these mysterious symbols 
had increased through a process of permutation - hence the 
name * Change ' and combination to a total of sixty-four 
hexagrams. It is from these that Shao Yung now evolved his 
theory of numbers. In this he went further back than Chou 
Tun-i to the very fountain-head of metaphysics. The 'Dia- 
gram of the Supreme Ultimate Explained', we know, is a 
study of figures, whereas 'Cosmological Chronology' com- 
bines figures with numbers and presents the most funda- 
mental concept of the Change. 

In his arrangement of the hexagrams, Shao Yung claimed 
that he had gone back for authority to the original system 
of Fu Hsi, from which he derived his Primeval Diagram. 5 It 
has been asserted that, whereas King Wen devised his 
method for the use of occultism, the legendary Fu Hsi - a 
potential mathematical genius ! had hit upon a more ad- 
vanced arithmetical order in his diagram. 6 In fact, certain 
Western scholars have pointed out the similarities between 
Fu Hsi's arrangement, as used by Shao Yung, and Gottfried 
Leibniz's Binary System of arithmetic, in which the first 
eight figures from o to 7 suggest the eight trigrams of the 
Chinese plan. It would be indeed interesting to study Shao 
Yung's theory of numbers in the light of Leibniz's discovery 
so as to see how closely connected the two are. 

The Primeval Diagram, as worked out by Shao Yung, is 
a circular one consisting of sixty-four hexagrams with Ch'ien, 
the all -male hexagram, at the top of the circle, and K'un, the 
all-female hexagram, at the bottom, and the other sixty-two 
hexagrams in their respective positions as assigned by the 
author. A great deal of significance has been attached to this 
diagram, for it represents in fact a formula for the life cycle 
of the myriad creatures in their birth, growth, maturity, de- 
cline, and death. This is true of the flowers, which bloom in 



the sunny Ch'ien position and wither in the cold K'un posi- 
tion, as of the seasons, the Ch'ien being the position for sum- 
mer with the activeyang principle in its zenith, and the K'un 
being that for winter with the passive yin principle pre- 

Even more interesting than the above formula, Shao 
Yung's diagram can be applied to the chronology of the 
universe. Thus he calculated that the entire life-span of the 
present world covered altogether a period of 129,000 years, 
which could be evenly divided into twelve cycles of 10,800 
years each. While the first years of the first cycle saw the 
birth of the world, it was in the third cycle, some 27,000 
years later, that the myriad creatures, including men, were 
born. In the sixth cycle, when the world began to enter the 
most auspicious position of the Ch'ien hexagram, some 
37,000 years since the birth of men according to Shao 
Yung's calculation, came the reigns of Yao and Shun, the 
golden age in Chinese history. As for these modern times, so 
the same author tells us, they fall into the seventh cycle 
about 69,000 years since the creation of the world, which, as 
we can easily see, has yet another 60,000 years to run before 
it faces its final annihilation in the K'un position. But Shao 
Yung was an optimist, for he maintained that the destruc- 
tion of this world would only mean the beginning of yet 
another with the same process of birth and death, growth 
and decay, going on ad infinitwn. 

5. The Unity of Heaven and Man 

THE term * Supreme Ultimate', first introduced by Chou 
Tun-i, now became the focus of philosophical discussion by 
the scholars of the time. But what the Supreme Ultimate 
actually is, it seems, was not clear in the minds of these 
thinkers. In Shao Yung's works, for instance, it was re- 
peatedly referred to as the tao, the mind, or the nature. But 
to Chang Tsai, the third great philosopher of the Sung 
period, it was nothing more than ch'i, or ether. In Chang's 
opinion, it is this ether that forms the Great Void which, 



though shapeless, contains nevertheless the substance of all 
existing things. For ch'i has the attributes of both condensing 
and dispersing. Thus when it condenses it gives shape to 
each individual thing and is hence visible; but when it dis- 
perses it becomes shapeless and void. Moreover, it is from 
this endless condensation and dispersion of the ch'i that the 
myriad things are formed and dissolved. 

'At the time of its condensation, can one say otherwise 
than that this is but temporary?' asked Chang Tsai philo- 
sophically. 'But at the time of its dispersing can one conclude 
hastily that it is non-existent? Therefore the sage asserts 
only, after he has made a careful examination of the phe- 
nomena, that he knows the cause of decline and growth, but 
not the cause of existence and non-existence.' 7 

The cffi, furthermore, is dual in nature, for it contains the 
two elements of yin andjxmg, which constantly wax and wane 
according to a fixed principle. And, because of this flux of 
the two forces, the cki is thrown continuously into action 
without being able to remain arrested in a state of void. For 
this reason, though there are hundreds of ways in which its 
condensation and dispersing take place, yet there is a defi- 
nite order in the formation of things as there is also a definite 
shape in the constituency of things. This 'eternal order', 
which Chang Tsai did not here elaborate, became the li 
(metaphysical law) of the later philosophers. 

Having made clear this fundamental concept, we are 
now ready to follow Chang Tsai in his contention that there 
is above all a unity in Heaven and Man. The ether (ch'i) be- 
ing the very substance of which all creations, including 
Heaven, Earth, men, and the myriad creatures, are made, it 
goes without saying that there is a great deal in common not 
only among men themselves but also between men and the 
other creatures. In particular, our body is the body of the 
universe, and our nature the nature of the universe. Or, as 
Chang Tsai put it, 'The Plenum of Heaven and Earth is the 
substance of my being; the Pilot of Heaven and Earth is my 
nature.' Hence 'all the world and I are brothers, and all na- 
ture and I have the same origin.' 8 And just as we are 



fraternal to our brothers by blood, so should we be to all men, 
even to those less fortunate like the deformed and the sick, 
the orphaned and the widowed. This then was the moral 
dangerously akin to Mo Ti's universal love - that Chang 
Tsai drew from his metaphysical studies and expressed in his 
now famous * Western Inscription' that he had written on the 
western wall of his study. 

6. Above Shape and Below Shape 

FOLLOWING closely on the heels of the three pioneers, 
Chou, Shao, and Chang, came the two Ch'eng brothers, in 
whose hands the Neo-Ju philosophy reached its formative 
stage. In fact, it was more than a happy coincidence that in 
the persons of the two brothers were linked together the phi- 
losophers of the Sung school, as the two Ch'engs were, as we 
have seen, the pupils of Chou Tun-i, the nephews of Chang 
Tsai, and, besides, frequent visitors to Shao Yung's Den of 
Tranquil Delight. They also, especially Ch'eng I, were des- 
tined to exert a powerful influence on Chu Hsi, the last and 
the greatest of the Neo-Ju group. 

Though often mentioned together, the Ch'engs seemed to 
be not only different in their temperaments but also in their 
lives: Hao, the elder, had a 'long chequered official career, 
while I, the younger, preferred the quietness of the study to 
the busy life of a magistrate. Yet Ps fame as a scholar was 
such that he was once summoned to serve, though only for a 
short time, as Preceptor to the young emperor. Ps long life 
probably also added to his reputation as well as his achieve- 
ment in philosophy. Here again the brothers showed a 
marked difference in their reasoning and views. As a matter 
of fact, they were responsible for initiating the two main 
currents of Neo-Ju thought: the dualisticLz (law) school, as 
represented by Ch eng I, and the monistic Hsin (mind) 
school, the beginnings of which were clearly discernible in 
Ch'eng Hao. 

The one great contribution made by the Ch'engs was the 
introduction of li (law) as an important concept in the new 



philosophy. The word had been used by previous writers, 
but it was the Ch'eng brothers who first brought it to the at- 
tention of their fellow-scholars. Thus, according to Ch'eng I, 
It is an immaterial cosmic principle to be distinguished from 
ck'i, the ether, of which all material things are made. In 
other words, just as there is in everything, animate or inani- 
mate, a primordial matter, so there is in everything a gov- 
erning principle which is the law of its being. That law, 
moreover, is universal and eternal. So whereas ch'i, the em- 
bodiment of physical matter, might change and dissolve, It, 
the underlying principle of that object, remains unchanged 
and indestructible. In the words of the philosophers, ck'i as 
manifested in concrete objects is 'below shape', while /i, the 
eternal principle that transcends time and space, is 'above 

Up to this point the two brothers seemed to be in general 
agreement. But they differed in their interpretation of a pas- 
sage in one of the 'Appendices' to the Classic of Change, which 
reads, ' What is above shape is called the law (tao) ; what is 
below shape is called the implement.' 9 Now, as Ch'eng I 
saw it, the distinction between the law and the implement 
was obvious since what is above shape cannot be the same as 
what is below shape. But to Ch'eng Hao this seemed other- 
wise. In the first place, he conceived of It more as a natural 
tendency than a fixed law. Thus he wrote, 'The myriad 
things have their It: follow it, and you will easily achieve 
what you want; oppose it, and you will run into difficulty.' 10 
He also observed: 'The implement is the law, and the law 
the implement. What is important is to attain the law, no 
matter when or by whom.' u To maintain that the imple- 
ment and the law is one and the same makes Gh'eng Hao a 
deviationist from the main school of Sung thought as repre- 
sented by his brother Ch'eng I, and later by Chu Hsi. 

7. The Great Summation 

THOUGH usually mentioned together with the others, Chu 
Hsi lived about a hundred years after the Ch'eng brothers. 

1 60 


Because of this distance in time he was able to reap the bene- 
fits of his predecessors and to view their teachings from a 
clearer perspective. A great moulder and a superb scholar, 
Chu Hsi fashioned a supreme product by combining with 
the early Ju doctrine the cosmological discoveries of Chou 
Tun-i, the numerical wonders of Shao Yung, the theory of 
matter (ch'i) of Chang Tsai, and the concept of the law (li) 
of the Ch'eng brothers. As a result of this fusion in the hands 
of this master craftsman the Neo-Ju philosophy reached its 
highest development. 

As a writer Chu Hsi was most versatile and prolific. His 
complete works, in sixty-two volumes, cover practically 
every branch of Chinese learning, namely, the classics, his- 
tory, philosophy, and literature. In the classical field Chu's 
position was undisputed. From the fourteenth century on 
for more than 500 years his commentaries and expositions of 
the K'ung classics were officially recognized as the standard 
works required of all candidates in the civil service examina- 
tion. In consequence, Chu Hsi's influence on the K'ung 
classics became so great that they were studied solely in the 
light of his interpretation, and it is no exaggeration to say 
that in the course of time the Chu orthodoxy became the 
K'ung orthodoxy. 

The most brilliant mind since Masters Meng and Hsiin, 
Chu Hsi was also the greatest single influence on Chinese 
thought. It was he and his group who first exalted the Ana- 
lects, The Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean, and the 
Meng-tzu as the four great books of the K'ung school, second 
only to the Five Classics ; it was he and his group who finally 
established the Ju hierarchy, raising Master Meng to the 
status of the Second Sage, thereby expelling Hsiin Ch'ing, 
Meng K'o's rival, from the orthodox fold; it was also he and 
his group who succeeded in laying a metaphysical foundation 
for the ethical and political teachings of the K'ung school. 

As a philosopher, Chu Hsi formulated from the findings of 
his predecessors a complete system of thought, metaphysical 
as well as ethical. He started by asserting once more the na- 
ture of the two inherent forces in the universe, ch'i and li, as 



taught by Ch'eng I. Repeating the latter' s idea that every 
physical object in nature, whether sentient or otherwise, has 
inherent in it a li (law) which makes that thing what it is, 
Ghu Hsi states further as a corollary to this theory that the 
congregation or sum total of all this multitudinous li in all 
the objects constitutes a complete world of its own embodied 
in the Supreme Ultimate. This last, therefore, is the ulti- 
mate standard of all things and the universal law of Heaven, 
Earth, and Man. As such, it is also the metaphysical world, 
or the 'world above shape', invisible, incorporeal, transcen- 
dental, and yet inherent in everything and pervading every- 
thing. On the other hand, there is the physical world, or the 
* world below shape', made up of the myriad objects that are 
visible, corporeal, and concrete. These, moreover, while 
owing their raison d'etre to Ii 9 are formed by the condensation 
of ch'i, or ether, as a result of the continuous interaction of 
thejrtft andjang elements in the universe. 'Hence, men or 
things, at the time of their production, must receive the li in 
order that they may have a nature of their own', wrote Ghu 
Hsi; 'they must also receive the ch'i in order that they may 
have a bodily form.' 12 

Like any other object, man too is a composition of both li 
and ch'i. This li, which is none other than human nature, is 
the same for ail men, but it is the ch'i in its various propor- 
tions and densities that makes men different. In an often- 
quoted passage Chu Hsi asserted: 'He who receives a c/fi 
that is clear becomes a sage, whose nature is like a pearl ly- 
ing in cold, translucent water. But he who receives a ch'i that 
is turbid will become a fool or a knave, whose nature is like 
a pearl lying in muddy water.' 13 The problem of self-culti- 
vation, therefore, is how to restore the pearl of human na- 
ture to its original lustre - a problem that brings us face to 
face with the familiar moral concept of the K'ung school. 

In solving this question we must first discover what that 
muddy substance is that obscures the lustre of man's original 
nature. It is, according to Chu Hsi, man's desire, which is 
the root of all evil. 'If one could only realize that it is one's 
desire that causes this obscuring, then there would be 



enlightenment,' said Chu Hsi. 'It is to this point alone that 
all efforts should be directed.' " 

Following Ch'eng I, Ghu Hsi maintained that to cleanse 
the pearl of human nature, in order to restore its brilliancy, 
one must aim at two things in particular: the exercise of at- 
tentiveness and the extension of knowledge. The first idea is 
quite simple. It means that one should constantly - yes, even 
reverently - bear in mind the existence in one of a 'luminous 
spiritual something' which one should carefully guard from 
the contamination of murky desires. As for the second, the 
Ch'eng-Chu idea is based upon a significant passage in The 
Great Learning, previously quoted, that the way of self-culti- 
vation lies ultimately in the 'extension of knowledge', which 
can be achieved through the 'investigation of things'. Con- 
necting this idea with his metaphysical conception, Chu Hsi 
now made the proposition that the knowledge here referred 
to is none other than a knowledge of the celestial li that 
governs the activity of all things in the 'world below form 5 , 
and that, furthermore, this knowledge can best be gained by 
investigating the individual li pf each particular object, one 
at a time, until after much sustained effort one becomes in a 
moment of sudden illumination completely enlightened. 

Thus we see that after more than a century of intellectual 
fermentation there evolved at long last a complete system of 
thought that was to exert the greatest influence on Chinese 
life. By no means a sower, Chu Hsi was rather a happy har- 
vester who, now that the time was ripe, was reaping a rich 
crop from the philosophical field cultivated by the industri- 
ous mental workers of previous generations. His role, there- 
fore, was essentially that of a great organizer, who estab- 
lished with his authority a new philosophy of the Sung 
period as a continuation of the orthodox teachings of the 
K'ung school. His interpretation soon became a standard 
one followed by all who desired admission to its great gate- 

To sum up, we must point out the manifold far-reaching 
influences of Chu Hsi and his circle. In the first place, these 
Sung scholars had instilled into the Ju dogma a new life just 



as it was in danger of becoming stagnant and stereotyped. 
As a result of this infusion there was a renaissance of the 
great tao in the Sung period. Secondly, by incorporating into 
it the best that was in Taoism and Buddhism, the new phi- 
losophy succeeded in stealing the thunder from its rivals, 
weakening them so much that they never recovered. Thirdly, 
this rationalization of the Ju philosophy disposed of the last 
few religious elements that had strayed into the K'ung sys- 
tem. Once for all, the Neo-Ju rationalists put an end to the 
tendency to deify Master K'ung and to make his teaching a 
religion - a tendency that had occasionally asserted itself, as 
we have seen, in the Han and T'ang ages. Lastly, this at- 
tempt to humanize the K'ung doctrine had also the indirect 
effect of ultimately doing away with the ancient Sinitic con- 
ception of Heaven as a personalized god. This was in line 
with the position Master K'ung took, who refused to discuss 
the question of religion one way or the other. And now, with 
the mysteries of the creation satisfactorily explained in terms 
of metaphysics, it is obvious that there would be no further 
use for an almighty god as the ruling deity of men. At least, 
this was the belief of the Chinese intellectuals, who, like 
Master K'ung, kept aloof from spiritual beings while at the 
same time showing a sovereign contempt for the supersti- 
tions of the common people. In fact, the mind of Chinese 
scholars has been so long divorced from all religious ideas 
and beliefs that to this day they remain confirmed atheists in 
the best tradition of the Neo-Ju school. 


Chapter Eleven 


i . A Philosophical Debate at the Goose Lake Monastery 

ATOP Goose Lake Mountain, in northern Kiangsi, stands 
the Goose Lake Monastery, a scenic Buddhist retreat, where 
a historic debate once took place between the leaders of the 
two schools of Neo-Ju philosophy. It was there in the sum- 
mer of 1 1 75 that Chu Hsi encountered the two Lu brothers, 
Lu Chiu-ling (i 134-82) and Lu Chiu-yuan (i 139-93), bet- 
ter known as Lu Hsiang-shan, both brilliant, scholars and 
exponents of the Mind (Hsiri) school. The meeting was ar- 
ranged by a mutual friend, Lii Tsu-ch'ien (1137-85), who 
after a visit with Chu Hsi accompanied him to the Goose 
Lake Monastery, where they were met by the Lu brothers. 
The latter were known to have entertained philosophical 
opinions different from Chu Hsi's, and it was with a view to 
reconciling their differences that Lii Tsu-ch'ien brought the 
three friends together. 

This was certainly a great occasion. Here was Chu Hsi at 
the height of his career, and there were his opponents, the 
Lu brothers, especially Hsiang-shan, still young and aggres- 
sive and with a great philosophical world to conquer. The 
meeting, however, had a bad start when in answer to Lii 
Tsu-ch'ien's polite inquiry about his latest poetic writings, 
the elder Lu began reciting a recent poem of his. After the 
first four lines, in which the poet asserted that 'the mind 
alone has been transmitted by the sages of yore,' Chu Hsi 
cast a furtive glance at Tsu-ch'ien, saying, 'I see Tzii-shou 
(Lu Chiu-ling) has been sailing along in his brother's 
boat!' 1 . Thereupon Hsiang-shan, the more impetuous 
younger brother, broke in to say that he too had composed a 
poem on their way to Goose Lake. Then he started to read 
his verses, and when he came to the couplet : 


The work of easy simplicity abides forever great; 

But affairs undertaken piecemeal will float or sink in the end. 8 

Chu Hsi changed colour at the criticism that was apparently 
directed at him. Thus ended in ill-humour the first greeting 
of the philosophers. 

The next day, in preparation for the conference, the Chu- 
Lii group drew up a number of statements that represented 
their basic ideas. But when these were handed out for dis- 
cussion they were all refuted by the Lu brothers, who re- 
mained firm in their conviction. Thus the controversy raged 
on, with the learned scholars lashing at each other with their 
tongues. More than a duel of wits, it was in fact a mighty 
verbal bout on the vital questions of philosophy. Neither, 
however, would yield any ground ; at the same time, neither 
succeeded in gaining the upper hand of the other, and so the 
battle of words came at last to an inconclusive end. An inter- 
ested audience there was, for quite a few other scholars had 
gathered for the occasion. But, since there was no moderator 
or judge, the debate failed to bring the worthy opponents 
any closer together than when they had started. When the 
meeting finally broke up the rival philosophers parted as 
friends, but far from reconciled in their views. 

Owing to a fundamental difference in their philosophies, 
such a reconciliation was naturally impossible. To begin 
with, the Lu brothers believed in the existence of one world 
instead of the two of Chu Hsi. Moreover, this world of the 
Lu school is none other than that of the 'original mind'. 'The 
universe is my mind, and my mind is the universe/ 3 so said 
Lu Hsiang-shan. He also maintained that, in order to attain 
moral perfection, the mind alone, which was the greatest 
and noblest of the senses, was all that needed to be culti- 
vated. Like Chu Hsi, Lu Hsiang-shan believed that man's 
mind, being innately good, could be restored to its original 
state through human effort; but he disagreed with Chu Hsi 
as to the methods of the mind's restoration. While criticizing 
Chu Hsi's investigation of each individual object one at a 
time as piecemeal, and his painstaking effort in the pursuit 



of knowledge as futile, Hsiang-shan advocated a simpler 
method of cultivation to be carried out chiefly through con- 
templation, reflection, and sudden enlightenment - a prac- 
tice dangerously akin to that of the Ch'an school of Bud- 
dhism. Also, like the Ch*anists, Lu Hsiang-shan scorned 
bookish knowledge, even that of the classics, and asserted 
that once one had grasped the essence of knowledge, 'all the 
Six Classics would serve only as footnotes.' 4 This indeed 
was a great departure, not only from Ghu Hsi, but from 
Master K'ung himself. It is no wonder then that Lu Hsiang- 
shan has been accused of being a Ch'anist in everything but 
name. This criticism, perhaps, is prejudiced, but whatever 
we believe, there is little doubt that Lu Hsiang-shan did lean 
more heavily towards Buddhism than any other teacher of 
his school. 

2. The Principle of the Bamboo 

EVER since the twelfth century the differences and similari- 
ties between Ghu and Lu have been burning issues with the 
K'ung scholars. Chu Hsi's interpretation of the classics and 
his metaphysical disquisitions had long been accepted as 
orthodox and taught publicly in schools, but his supremacy 
did not prevent the teachings of Lu Hsiang-shan from gain- 
ing currency among a selected group of scholars. From these 
there finally rose Wang Yang-ming 5 (1472-1529), a great 
thinker of the Ming dynasty, in whose hands the philosophy 
of the Mind school became firmly established as a worthy 
rival of the Chu orthodoxy. 

Wang Yang-ming, a remarkable general and statesman, 
was the greatest philosopher after Chu Hsi. His crowning 
success as a soldier came in 1519, when he suppressed the re- 
bellion of Prince Ch'en Hao, who had aspired to the throne. 
The swiftness with which Wang Yang-ming struck at the 
pretender's army, thus nipping the conspiracy in the bud, 
and the efficiency with which he conducted his numerous 
anti-banditry campaigns won him the fame of a military 
genius. But it is chiefly as a philosopher and scholar that 
Yang-ming is honoured by posterity. 



Early initiated in the mysteries of philosophy, Wang Yang- 
ming had had several encounters with Taoist and Buddhist 
recluses in his youthful days. For some times, he was almost 
a lost lamb straying in the byways of heterodoxy 6 before he 
found his way back to the orthodox fold. After that he re- 
mained loyal to the cause of lao, and when in his thirties he 
set out on his lecturing career he was already a mature 
K'ung scholar. But even then Yang-ming had moments of 
grave doubt, and for a long time was equally bewildered and 
exasperated by Master Ch'u's principle of investigation. 
Previously he had discussed the subject with one of his 
friends and they had resolved to practise it right away so as 
to start early on their way to sagehood. Ghu Hsi, as we re- 
member, had taught that one should investigate the li or 
principle of physical objects as a concrete method of extend- 
ing one's knowledge, which would ultimately lead to moral 
perfection. But how should one start? 'Let's concentrate on 
the bamboo in the front courtyard,' the friends agreed. 7 Im- 
mediately they set to work, and for days and nights the two 
tried to enter into the spirit of the bamboo, thinking hard 
and deep. But the result was not as happy as they had antici- 
pated. Though their energies were exhausted and their bodies 
worn out, their minds remained as blank and hollow as the 
bamboo they had been investigating. At last, after seven 
weary days and nights, Wang Yang-ming, who had held out 
longer than his friend, gave up too sighing, * Alas ! We can 
be neither sages nor worthies for we lack the great strength 
to carry on this investigation !' 8 

Nevertheless, the idea continued to trouble Yang-ming 
throughout his early years until one day a sudden enlighten- 
ment came to him during a critical period of his life. At that 
time, because of a court intrigue, he was living in banish- 
ment in Lung-chang, a primitive mountainous town of abo- 
rigines and escaped convicts in remote Kweichow. It hap- 
pened that the few followers he had with him were sick, and 
he himself had to chop wood, carry water, and boil rice for 
them. Then the miracle occurred. One night, as he lay 
awake at the sound of the midnight watch, perhaps ponder- 



ing deeply on the ways of attaining sagehood, the light sud- 
denly dawned upon him. It was a supreme moment of dis- 
covery when 'eureka* was the happy word. All excited, he 
rushed from his bed, shouted, and danced about the room. 
To his astonished followers, who had gathered about him, 
he proudly announced, 'My nature, of course, is quite suffi- 
cient. I was wrong in looking for principles in external 
objects.' 9 

3. Intuition, not Investigation 

WANGYANG-MING'S discovery, in other words, super- 
seded the claim of the investigation of things as the sole 
means of moral cultivation. He had been greatly disap- 
pointed, as we have seen, in his attempt to understand the /{ 
of the bamboo, and now he came out with a principle of his 
own. It is that the mind is the supreme legislator as well as 
the embodiment of all the principles of the universe. So in- 
stead of taking the tedious and slow process of investigating 
each individual object, as advocated by the philosophers of 
Chu Hsi's school, Yang-ming insisted that one should simply 
concentrate on the mind, which is the only thing necessary 
to know, for, said he, 'Apart from the mind, there is neither 
law nor object.' lo 

But how can we prove that everything in the universe is 
dependent on the mind ? The same doubt must have been in 
the bosom of one of Yang-ming's friends when he said to the 
philosopher, pointing to the flowers and trees on a distant 
cliff: 'You say that there is nothing under heaven outside 
the mind. But how about those flowers and trees on yonder 
high mountain, which blossom and wither of themselves. 
What have they to do with my mind?' 

'When you cease to regard these flowers,' Yang-ming re- 
plied, 'they cease to exist for you. But when you look at them, 
their colours at once strike your eyes. From this you can 
easily see that these flowers are not unrelated to your 
mind.' 11 

Wang Yang-ming also contended that for all moral pur- 
poses the only thing needed to be done was to bring forth 


1 the intuitive knowledge 1 of the mind. This is a new term 
taken from a passage in the Meng-tzu, and is similar in con- 
ception to Lu Hsiang-shan's 'original mind*. This intuitive 
faculty, according to Yang-ming, is a godsend, shared alike 
by sages and villains, with the only difference that whereas 
the sage has preserved it intact in its purest state, the villain 
has contaminated it by his evil contacts and selfish desires. 
But whatever one does, this faculty is inherent in one's na- 
ture, enabling him to distinguish intuitively between right 
and wrong. Moreover, if the villain or anybody else has lost 
his intuitive knowledge through abuse or corruption, he 
could yet make good his loss by diligently cultivating his 
mind until one day it would return to him. 

To prove the existence of such an intuitive faculty, scho- 
lars of Master Yang-ming's school were fond of telling the 
following oft-repeated story of an unusual encounter be- 
tween a burglar and a pedant. It seems that the latter, 
having caught a burglar one sultry summer night, tries to 
reform him by appealing to his intuitive knowledge of what 
is good and evil. Tm sure,' says the scholar, 'your intuitive 
goodness will tell you not to commit further trespasses.' But, 
instead of being convinced, the burglar laughs and says 
mockingly, 'Please tell me, sir, where is my good con- 
science?* At that, the weather being extremely oppressive, 
the kindly scholar asks his excited visitor to take off his 
jacket. But still the heat seems to be too much for him. So 
the host suggests, 'Why not take off your pants too?' To this 
the burglar protests vigorously, 'That won't be quite proper !' 
Thereupon the scholar shouts triumphantly, 'Ah! Here is 
your intuitive goodness !' 12 

We are not told whether the burglar actually gained en- 
lightenment through this unusual incident; nor are we in- 
formed of the ways and means whereby one could develop 
one's intuitive faculty with sagehood as the promised goal. 
The school of Master Yang-ming sounded an optimistic 
note when it declared that 'the streets are full of sages,' 13 
just as Master Meng before it had said that 'all of us could 
be Yaos and Shuns.' 14 A happy thought it certainly is that 



we are all potentially perfect, but the question still remains 
as to exactly what should be done to attain sagehood. De- 
spising Chu Hsi's pedantic advice on learning, Wang Yang- 
ming suggested that the extension of one's intuitive know- 
ledge could best be achieved through intense thought, calm 
meditation, and constant self-control. This is all good ad- 
vice, but still vague, if not just as hard to practise as the in- 
vestigation of the bamboo's principle. 

4. The Unity of Knowledge and Practice 

WHILE elaborating on the teachings of the Mind school as 
first propounded by Lu Hsiang-shan, Wang Yang-ming 
went a step further by asserting the unitary character of 
knowledge and practice. Action, he believed, is interrelated 
with knowledge, and the reason that we fail to do good is 
due mainly to our failure to understand what good is. On 
the other hand, knowledge by itself is meaningless, and only 
he who knows how to apply his knowledge to the affairs of 
life can attain a complete development of his intuitive fa- 
culty, in which the highest good abides. 

Once Master Yang-ming was asked by his students why 
people who knew that filial piety should be due to parents, 
and fraternal love to brothers, failed to put either into prac- 
tice. Could this mean, the students further inquired, that 
knowledge and action were after all two separate things ? To 
resolve this doubt, Yang-ming maintained that these people 
failed in filial and fraternal conduct simply because of their 
lack of real understanding; then he continued, 'I have^aid 
that knowledge motivates action, and that practice implies 
the execution of knowledge. Knowing is the beginning of 
action, and doing is the completion of knowledge. When one 
knows how to attain the desired end, though one speaks only 
of knowing, the doing is already included; likewise, though 
he may speak only of action, the knowing is also implied.' 15 

In the same conversation Wang Yang-ming used as an il- 
lustration one's love of beauty and one's dislike of an evil 
odour. The recognition of beauty in an object, he believed, 



belongs to the province of knowledge, whereas the love of a 
beautiful object involves action. Now as soon as one sees a 
lovely thing one falls in love with it at first sight. The spon- 
taneity of this feeling is due to the fact that knowing and 
doing are unitary. It is not evoked after one has first seen the 
object and then deliberately made up his mind to love it. 
The same is true of smelling an evil odour. It repulses one as 
soon as it reaches one's nostrils without one's having to make 
up one's mind to dislike it. But a man with his nostrils stuffed 
may not smell the malodorous object in front of him. Not 
knowing that it is actually offensive, he may not even dislike 
it. The failure to know is therefore coincident with the failure 
to act. 

The particular trend of Wang Yang-ming's thinking, like 
that of Lu Hsiang-shan, makes it susceptible of Buddhist in- 
fluences. Indeed, undercurrents of Ch'anist ideas are detect- 
able here and there in a number of his metaphysical state- 
ments. But it is just as unfair to accuse him of being a 
Buddhist thinker as it is to accuse Lu Hsiang-shan of being 
one. In both, the main pattern of their teaching is human- 
istic rather than other-worldly. There is nothing in them of 
that ascetic and pessimistic outlook on life characteristic of 
Buddhist thinking. At the same time the works of these two 
philosophers, though separated by a distance of more than 
three centuries, show clearly that they are part and parcel of 
the great tradition of the Ju school. They both have a deep 
respect for antiquity and a genuine admiration of the sage 
kings. Furthermore, Wang Yang-ming's emphasis on action 
makes him diametrically opposed to Taoist non-action as 
well as to Buddhist passivity. Yang-ming, in fact, not only 
preached action, but practised himself what he taught; 
more than any other teacher of the K'ung school, he was a 
typical man of action, as much esteemed for his statecraft and 
military genius as for his scholarship and philosophical pro- 

Yang-ming, too, made a lasting contribution to Chinese 
thought. His ideas, which have grown with the centuries, 
attract lively discussion even to this day. 16 Though in his 



emphasis on the intuitive faculty and inner cultivation he 
seems to have discouraged the rise of the scientific spirit as 
found in Chu Hsi's investigation of external objects, yet in 
all fairness to Yang-ming it must be said that Chu's empiri- 
cal idea gave little promise of an actual beginning in science, 
and still less of discoveries and inventions. This was because 
the K'ung scholars of that time, lacking in scientific equip- 
ment and knowledge as well as in scientific mentality, had 
limited the scope of their investigation to men and society 
alone and would have nothing to do with the broad phe- 
nomena and universal principles of nature. In other words, 
they were still treading in the old ruts of ethics and politics 
in the manner of Master K*ung, and consequently, in spite 
of the efforts of the Sung philosophers, nothing new and in- 
dependent could be expected of them. On the other hand, to 
Wang Yang-ming at least was due the credit of having di- 
verted these K'ung pedants from their vain bookish pursuit 
to the more interesting study of the rich and resourceful 
mind. In this he represented the last important phase of the 
Neo-Ju movement and was directly responsible for having 
successfully roused men's attention to the profundities of 
human nature while at the same time instructing them in 
the proprieties of individual and social life. 

5. Centuries of Dreary Scholarship 

THE dearth of Chinese philosophy in the centuries following 
Wang Yang-ming's death in 1529 contrasts unfavourably 
with its earlier fecundity. The sudden outburst of intellectual 
vitality in the Sung age seemed to have exhausted itself, and 
Chinese scholars now resigned themselves to the uninspiring 
work of scholarship and criticism. So far as philosophy is 
concerned, these were the most dreary centuries in Chinese 
history, with the friends and foes of the Neo-Ju schools fol- 
lowing slavishly on their masters' heels and quibbling over 
hair-splitting issues in the old classics. 

Worst of all, the Chinese creative genius was being im- 
paired by the literary examination, the main avenue to 



officialdom which, from the Ming dynasty, had degenerated 
into a mere contest of skill in the composition of a type of 
mechanical essay known as the 'Eight Legs'. Following a 
rigid artificial pattern, this type of essay is divided into eight 
well-balanced parts, each developing a different phase of 
the topic, which is always a quotation from the K'ung classics. 
Because of this limitation its contents are confined to the Ju 
school of thought, particularly the interpretations as made 
by Chu Hsi and his followers. Obviously, such a strait- 
jacket composition leaves little room for the exercise of 
imagination and originality. As a result, the Chinese intel- 
lectuals who were trained in the art of composing these 
'eight-legged* essays, became limited in their outlook and 
trammelled in their thinking. Hence there emerged a type of 
scholar who, while opposed to all independent thinking and 
real literary merit, was authoritarian, dogmatic, narrow- 
minded, and little interested in subjects outside the orthodox 
canons. It is a pity that the best minds of the nation should 
have been thus wasted on such trivial compositions 1 Since 
this was the case, however, it was natural that in the wake 
of the Neo-Ju movement there should be such a long period 
of intellectual stagnation. 

Actually, this kind of examination did more harm than 
service to the cause of the K'ung school. Of course, it helped 
in making the Ju dogma predominant in Chinese intellectual 
circles, but it also helped to kill the true spirit of Master 
K'ung's teaching and to misrepresent the great Master to 
the Chinese people as an autocrat and a pedant. Though 
deeply revered and idolized, he was nevertheless being di- 
vested of human qualities and values. The vitality of his 
teaching, which had saved it from the destruction of the 
Ch'in fire, was gone; instead it became stereotyped and 
much adulterated. What irony that Master K'ung, the great 
educationalist, whose method was to 'skilfully lead men on' 
and whose intellectual curiosity was immense, should have 
now found himself the object of blind worship and the 
instrument of a senseless educational policy that stressed 
mere memory work, rhetorical feats, unremitting thought 


control, and subservience to the despotic authority of the 
monarch ! 

6. A Textual Criticism that Claims to be Scientific 

I N a sense, the dearth of philosophy from the sixteenth cen- 
tury was partially made up for by remarkable progress in the 
exegetical studies of the K'ung classics. As philosophers, the 
Ming and Ch'ing scholars were negligible, but as critics they 
were outstanding in their painstaking efforts, in the pro- 
fundity of their learning, and in the proper approach they 
made towards textual criticism. They were remarkable en- 
cyclopaedists, lexicographers, anthologists, commentators, 
philologists, and exegetes, who succeeded in gathering an 
abundant harvest from the scholarly labours of the previous 
centuries. They also made great progress in an effort to de- 
termine the authenticity and correctness of the numerous 
texts of the K'ung school as well as those of the other philo- 
sophical schools. With the facility of printing now greatly 
extended and the circulation of books made easier, they did 
at least this one great service : they gave to posterity a good, 
reasonable, and well-annotated text which can still be read 
with confidence and satisfaction. 

The Ch'ing scholars, especially, revolted against the meta- 
physical leanings of the Sung thinkers. In protest they styled 
themselves 'followers of the Han learning* to show that they 
obtained their inspiration from a period earlier than the 
Sung, and were therefore in point of time nearer to Master 
K'ung, and in spirit closer to the original Ju teaching. 'The 
classical learning of the Han period should be followed,' 
wrote an early nineteenth-century critic, 'because it was 
closest to the sages, and also because it appeared before the 
rise of the two doctrines [Buddhism and Taoism].' 17 In the 
opinion of these scholars it was the teaching of these two re- 
ligions that had corrupted the Sung writings and rendered 
them truly 'unorthodox'. 

It was at that time that Chinese historical criticism, 
properly speaking, had its beginning. Yen Yuan (1635- 
1704), founder of the school, is credited with developing a 



scientific methodology in the study of classical and historical 
literature Though deploring the alien elements in the Sung 
writings, these men nevertheless continued the tradition of 
Chu Hsi in their critical criterion as well as in their philo- 
logical approach to the ancient texts. And while they failed 
to evolve an experimental science, these Ch'ing scholars did 
produce a higher criticism based upon scientific evidence 
and inductive reasoning. To mention only one example, a 
prominent scholar of the period, Ku Yen-wu (1613-82), so 
it was claimed, offered 160 evidences in order to prove satis- 
factorily the ancient pronunciation of a disputed word. 
When such a prodigious effort was expended on a single 
phonological question the thoroughness and solidarity of the 
Ch'ing scholarship can well be imagined. 

Moreover, such elaborate study of the ancient texts was 
by no means a pure waste of time and energy. The exegetes 
defended themselves by asserting that an understanding and 
verification ot the sages' words was a prerequisite to a cor- 
rect interpretation of the sages' minds and ideas. It is like 
the laborious ascent of the steps that lead to the main hall, 
which indeed cannot be gained otherwise. In one respect at 
least, these scholars made great strides. By sweeping aside all 
subjective ideas and traditional authority they succeeded in 
detecting a number of spurious classics that were hitherto 
considered as genuine. These include, for instance, the Ritual 
of Chou, the 'Ten Wings' (Appendices) of the Classic of 
Change, and the Classic of Filial Piety, all of which were now 
assigned to a much later period than had been claimed, and 
credited to hands much less distinguished than those of the 
Duke of Chou, Master K'ung, and Master Tseng, to whom 
the authorship of the above works had been respectively at- 

Foremost among this group of textual critics, and a phi- 
losopher in his own right, was Tai Tung-yuan (1724-77), in 
whom the Ch'ing scholarship culminated. A story about 
Tai's intellectual alertness as a child gives an unmistakable 
insight into his later achievements as a scholar. When a boy 
of ten, so the story goes, Tai was taught by his teacher that 


the introductory section in The Great Learning began with the 
words of Master K'ung as transmitted by Master Tseng, and 
that the other ten chapters were all Tseng Ts'an's exposi- 
tions recorded by his pupils. 

'But,' the boy asked his tutor, 'how do we know that this 
is true?' 

'Master Chu Hsi said so/ answered the unsuspecting 

'When did Master Chu live?' 

'In the Sung dynasty.' 

'When did Master K'ung and Master Tseng live?' 

'In the Chou dynasty.' 

'How many years intervened between the two dynasties ?' 

'Two thousand years.' 

'Then how could Master Chu know what happened two 
thousand years ago?' 18 

At this the teacher was dumbfounded; and so would all 
scholars be who founded their assertions on authority and 
not on critical evidence and logical reasoning. 


Chapter Twelve 


i. New Wine in Old Bottles 

THE Ch'ing reaction against the Neo-Ju philosophy took a 
new turn by the end of the nineteenth century. The Han 
learning, to which the Ch'ing scholars had previously paid 
their allegiance, was in substance that of the Old Text 
school represented by Ma Yung and Cheng Hsiian. But the 
new intellectuals in the last years of the Ch'ing dynasty 
yearned to return to the early Han period at the time of 
Tung Chung-shu, when the Old Texts had not yet been un- 
earthed and only the Modern Texts were studied in the 
offices of the Eruditi. The battle of the two Texts, as the 
reader will recall, had been waged inconclusively for a num- 
ber of years in the Han dynasty until finally synthetists like 
Cheng Hsiian and others incorporated what they deemed 
best in the Modern Texts into the Old, thus putting an end 
to the raging dispute. This, however, also spelled the doom 
for the Modern Scripts, very few of which survived the 
clever manipulation of their opponents. 

Now a battle-cry for the revival of the long-neglected 
Modern Scripts was raised. As was natural, the Modern 
Classicists of the Ch'ing period rallied around Tung Chung- 
shu and his Kung-yang Commentary, which once more became 
the centre of intensive research. But, unlike Tung, these 
Ch'ing scholars were also political reformers who saw in the 
teachings of Master K'ung a powerful weapon for their po- 
litical sallies. To them, of course, Master K'ung was more 
than a mere transmitter of ancient lore; he was a throneless 
king, a saviour of mankind. 

But what was the motivating force behind this new move- 
ment? To answer this question we must pause for a moment 
to examine briefly the Chinese political situation in the last 


years of the nineteenth century. This was an age of rapid 
decay in the colossal Manchu empire as a result of a wide- 
spread unrest among the oppressed Chinese masses within 
and the encroachment of the Western powers from without. 
In the early days of the Ch'ing dynasty the Chinese intelli- 
gentsia had to bury themselves in harmless classical studies 
to avoid persecution by the suspicious and relentless Man- 
chu rulers. But now their scholarly successors found a worse 
enemy in foreign imperialists who threatened the very exist- 
ence of the nation itself. Political reformation seemed the 
only way out of this emergency and, since China was thor- 
oughly grounded in the K'ung dogma, some of the scholar- 
reformers began to adopt the daring tactics of trying to ad- 
vance their own political ideas behind the broad facade of 
Master K'ung. 

The leader of this movement was K'ang Yu-wei (1858- 
1927)5 a prodigy who earned for himself the nickname 'sage' 
because of his predilection for that word in his numerous 
conversations. True to this appellation, Sage K'ang soon 
saw in himself an image of the great Sage K'ung. An ambi- 
tious young man, he was ready to set forth his political pro- 
gramme in the name of Master K'ung. As the latter had ad- 
vocated his reforms on the authority of the sage kings of 
antiquity, so would K'ang Yu-wei present Master K'ung in 
the role of a great reformer, a man of social vision, who 
could serve as a pattern for K'ang's own political activities. 
Moreover, according to K'ang Yu-wei, Master K'ung actu- 
ally wrote, or rather fabricated, all the Six Classics as a 
weapon of propaganda, while the sage kings like Yao and 
Shun, who might not have existed at all, were most probably 
the children of Master K'ung's imagination. And if that 
were the case, why couldn't he, K'ang Yu-wei, also adopt 
the same strategy that Master K'ung had so successfully 
employed ? 

Nothing could be more fantastic than this assumption of 
Sage K'ang, who surpassed even Tung Chung-shu in his 
distortion of the historical facts concerning Master K'ung. 
The arguments which K'ang Yu-wei advanced in support of 



his contentions were mostly fallacious and arbitrary. For in- 
stance, he asserted, contrary to all historical records, that 
the Chou classics actually survived the Ch'in fire and were 
handed down intact to the Han scholars. Such statements 
only underlined the fact that K'ang Yu-wei was more of a 
charlatan than a scholar, who used the Ju dogma as a peg 
on which to hang his political theses. For the same reason 
he attributed to Master K'ung the dishonesties he himself 
would have committed had he been in the Master's place. 
But in spite of all that we have said it cannot be denied that 
K'ang Yu-wei did make an important contribution to Chi- 
nese thought by his independent thinking and his audacity 
in attacking old traditions and established authorities. 
Though far from being a sound critic himself, he neverthe- 
less contributed to criticism a spirit of doubt, a spirit that 
was destined to bear fruit among the Chinese scholars of the 
present century. 

2. A World Utopia 

MORE interesting than all these pseudo-scholarly attempts 
at reconstructing Master K'ung is K'ang Yu-wei 's concep- 
tion of a new world Utopia. This he called Ta Tung, the 
Great Commonwealth, from a passage in the Record of Rites, 1 
generally attributed to Master K'ung. The passage provided 
Sage K'ang, then twenty-six, with inspiration for a lofty 
picture of an ideal state, which he depicted colourfully in a 
book of several hundred thousand words. 

Before we proceed to examine K'ang Yu-wei's Book of the 
Great Commonwealth we must first of all present K'ang's 
theory of historical evolution based upon the concept of the 
'three eras' in the Kung-yang Commentary. These are, first, the 
era of world confusion, corresponding to the time of Master 
K'ung, in which men were governed by force or at best by 
li (propriety); second, the era of approaching peace, in 
which the people are well educated and take a prominent 
part in government affairs as in the modern period; third, 
the era of great peace, the last stage of human progress, in 
which there will be unity, harmony, and brotherhood for the 



whole world. 'In the future,* wrote K'ang Yu-wei, the 
youthful idealist, 'there will be unity on this great earth irre- 
spective of the size of the countries and the distance between 
them. With the national states abolished, the racial distinc- 
tions eliminated, and traditions and cultures all in harmony, 
there will be one world of peace.' Then he added naively, 
'This has long been prophesied by Master K'ung.' 2 

Of these three eras, the one that engrossed K'ang Yu- 
wei's attention most is the last, which according to him will 
see the rise of a world government built on the concept of 
unity, equality, and brotherhood. Summarized briefly, 
K'ang's plans for the global Utopia are : 

1 . That all national states be abolished, and a world government, 
divided into a number of administrative areas, be established; 

2. That both the central government and the district govern- 
ments be elected by the people; 

3. That the family system be abolished ; and that the marriage 
contract between men and women be valid for not more than a 

4. That hospitals be built for expectant mothers; nurseries, 
kindergartens, and schools for children; 

5. That all grown-ups be assigned by government to agricul- 
tural, industrial, and other productive work ; 

6. That the sick be admitted free to the community hospitals, 
and old people to homes for the aged ; 

7. That the above-mentioned institutions be made the best 
equipped in each world district and strive to give their inmates the 
greatest possible comfort and happiness ; 

8. That all men and women, when they come of age, be con- 
scripted to serve in one of those institutions for a certain number of 

9. That public dormitories and cafeterias be built and their use 
enjoyed by everyone in proportion to the amount of labour or ser- 
vice he has given to the state; 

10. That the severest punishment be meted out to the idle and 

1 1 . That special rewards be given to those who make new dis- 
coveries, or who make special contributions to the community; 

1 2. That cremation be practised for the dead with the cremating 
grounds in the vicinity of the fertilizer factories. 3 



All these, as the reader can easily see, are a hodgepodge 
of indigested and incongruous ideas introduced from the 
West at the end of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, 
that such a strange conglomeration of ideas, many of which 
would be a real shock to Master K'ung, should be couched 
in the language of the K'ung school is not a matter for sur- 
prise. It shows merely that Master K'ung had such great 
authority in those days that even radical propaganda like 
this had to be made in his name. But this also clearly demon- 
strates not only the peculiar mentality of the young Sage 
K'ang, who was in the habit of reading his own notions into 
the works of others, but also his unscrupulous practice of 
crying and selling his own political wares under the well- 
established K'ung trademai'k. 

After these ideological preparations K'ang Yu-wei 
launched forth into the world of politics. Though only a 
* blue-gowned scholar', he repeatedly sent to the throne me- 
morials advocating an ambitious programme of national re- 
form. 4 These, of course, went unanswered and unnoticed. 
But in 1898 K'ang's persistent outcries finally attracted the 
attention of the young monarch Kuang Hsu (1875-1908), 
who took the K'ung zealot as his last pawn in a desperate 
game to ward oil' the evil influence of his aunt, the powerful 
Empress Dowager, better known as the Old Buddha. The 
new faction, headed by K'ang Yu-wei, soon gained the pa- 
tronage of the emperor, who together with K'ang enjoyed a 
wonderful time of feverish activity by issuing edicts, one 
after another, to abolish the many corrupt and reactionary 
practices that were fast undermining the nation. But these 
reform measures were hardly under way when the conserva- 
tive elements at court, thoroughly infuriated and alarmed, 
succeeded in enlisting to their support the Empress Dowa- 
ger, who soon put an end to Kuang Hsu's frantic efforts by 
deposing him in a coup d'etat and taking over herself the 
reins of government. Thus, after barely a hundred days, the 
reform movement collapsed. K'ang Yu-wei fled for his life 
to Hong Kong, leaving behind him a number of his fol- 
lowers to become victims of the Old Buddha's rage. 




3. An Abortive Attempt to deify Master K'ung 

PARADOXICALLY enough, the Chinese Revolution of 191 1 
found K'ang Yu-wei, the arch rebel of 1898, an ultra-con- 
servative and a loyal supporter of the fallen Manchu mon- 
archy. In the early days of the new republic K'ang also 
identified himself with an abortive movement to enthrone 
Master K'ung as head of a state religion. Political conditions 
at that time, it seems, were by no means unfavourable to 
such an anachronistic proposal. The young nation estab- 
lished by Sun Yat-sen and his followers had been suffering 
from its birth throes ; and what was worse, the government 
was actually in the hands of Yuan Shih-k'ai, an ambitious 
war-lord, who had been entertaining hopes of becoming an 
emperor himself. Naturally, Yuan was not adverse to the 
idea of exalting Master K'ung, long regarded by many as a 
symbol of official loyalty to the throne. In fact, the move- 
ment was so opportune that it might have carried the day 
had it not been for strong opposition from a group of uni- 
versity-trained intellectuals. 

Before we come to the story of the movement itself we 
want to make clear the important point that, contrary to the 
assertions of many prominent Western scholars and mis- 
sionaries, 5 the orthodoxy of the K'ung school can in no way 
be considered a religion. As a matter of fact you may, if you 
please, call the K'ung dogma an ethical system, a code of 
ritual, a way of life, a philosophy, history, literature, cul- 
ture, etc. ; that is, anything but religion. To be sure, ancestor 
worship, which was a cult of the Chinese people, and filial 
piety, which goes with it, are the two main props of the 
K'ung system, but these do not necessarily make the K'ung 
teaching a religion, just as the sacrifices at Master K'ung's 
temples do not make him the 'First Holy One'. The salient 
fact remains that Master K'ung did not make any claim to 
godship, nor did he teach a faith that was supernatural and 
sanctimonious. This clearly indicates that Master K'ung 
originally had nothing to do with religion. Moreover, 


despite the later acts of homage heaped on him, there has 
never been evolved a K'ung priesthood with all its para- 
phernalia. For all these reasons the Ju doctrine has never 
appeared as a popular faith in the eyes of the Chinese 
people. This further strengthens our belief that, though 
there is a teaching in the heart of every religion, not every 
teaching is a religion, and least of all, the teaching of the 
K'ung school. 

But, inspired by the example of Christianity as a state re- 
ligion in many Western countries, the K'ung partisans of 
the early twentieth century clamoured vociferously to make 
the K'ung orthodoxy the national religion of the Chinese 
people. Most prominent among this group was Ch'en Huan- 
chang, a returned student from America and the author of 
an impressive two-volume dissertation in English on the 
Economic Principles of Confucius. Ch'en was a disciple of Sage 
K'ang, and together the two braced themselves for a great 
campaign to propagate Master Kung's teachings in these re- 
publican times. As a result of their propaganda K'ung so- 
cieties for the study and exaltation of the Master's teachings 
mushroomed throughout the country, and when the Consti- 
tutional Convention met in 1915 the K'ang group de- 
manded that a clause be included in the new constitution 
to establish the K'ung doctrine as a state religion. The up- 
roar that followed this proposal was terrific and the staunch 
champions of the K'ung school met with as staunch an op- 
position from the revolutionary camp. Even Yuan Shih- 
k'ai, who undoubtedly favoured such an official sanction of 
the Ju orthodoxy, 6 saw fit not to press the issue too far. Con- 
sequently, after much squabbling and name-calling, the 
Draft Convention adopted a compromise resolution en- 
dorsing the moral superiority of the K'ung teaching, but not 
hailing it a national religion. The constitution, anyway, was 
never adopted and, when it was finally scrapped, gone with 
it was the last hope of the K'ung partisans. Their abortive 
attempt at deifying Master K'ung, therefore, indicated only 
the desperate plight of the conservatives at the dawn of a 
new era. 


4. Down with K'ung & Sons! 

ABOUT the same time that the K c ung controversy was creat- 
ing a furore among the constitutionalists there emerged a new 
revolutionary force that was to awake with a thunderous 
voice the intellectual stupor of the young republic. For a 
number of years, even in the monarchical days, the old clas- 
sical education, in which the K'ung learning predominated, 
was giving way to a new system patterned after that of the 
West. Modern subjects like science were being introduced in 
place of the K'ung classics, which were no longer noisily re- 
cited by youngsters as in the olden days. Even more im- 
portant than that, the fettering examination of the Ming 
and Ch'ing dynasties had been abolished, so that scholars 
would no longer waste the best part of their lives on the 
brain- wrecking 'Eight- legged 5 essays. With this liberation 
there developed a new type of Chinese intellectual trained in 
the knowledge of the West and anxious to lead the country, 
which had barely emerged from her medieval anchorage, on 
a hazardous voyage into the modern world. In their zeal to 
reach their destination amidst storms and tempests these 
young pilots of the new ship of state proposed to dump over- 
board all the ancient cargoes of learning, among them the 
age-old K'ung classics. 

The most outspoken representative of this an ti -K'ung 
group was Ch'en Tu-hsiu, 7 professor at the National Uni- 
versity in Peking and editor of the monthly The New Youth. 
Working together with him was Hu Shih, who led the Chi- 
nese in a literary renaissance unprecedented in history. In 
addition to introducing a vernacular language and litera- 
ture to the people, the New Touth group also attempted to 
liberate the Chinese mentality from its feudal bondage, 
using as their weapon the scientific and democratic ideals of 
the West. If the political revolution of 191 1 paved the way 
for the republican form of government, the literary revolu- 
tion that followed shortly after in 1917 extended further the 
intellectual horizon of the Chinese nation. 


As we have just mentioned, the greatest obstacle in the 
path of these literary revolutionists was the K'ung ortho- 
doxy that had monopolized Chinese thought for nearly 
2,000 years ever since the epoch-making decree of Emperor 
Wu in 136 B.C. The historical teaching of K'ung Ch'iu, 
when considered dispassionately, had both its merits and 
drawbacks. It must also be admitted in all honesty that the 
main stream of Ju philosophy was by no means entirely 
stereotyped and decadent beyond recovery. Witness its re- 
generation in the hands of the Sung and Ming thinkers ! But, 
on the other hand, it also cannot be denied that in the last 
three or four centuries since the Ming dynasty, numerous 
elements that were extremely backward and feudalistic had 
crept into the K'ung school and made it a veritable Augean 
stable impossible of being cleansed. At the same time, while 
the classical scholars of the Ch'ing period were burying 
themselves in textual and philological studies to escape po- 
litical persecution, the unscrupulous henchmen of the ruth- 
less Manchu rulers were utilizing the Ju doctrine, which 
they had greatly abused and corrupted, as an instrument for 
the enslavement of the Chinese people. As a result of this 
purposeful misrepresentation the name of K'ung had be- 
come all that was obnoxious and bigoted, and its teaching a 
conglomeration of authoritarian dogma whose poison soon 
corroded the soul of the nation. That was how things stood 
in the early days of the Chinese Republic; so it was no won- 
der that the K'ung conservatives should appear so repug- 
nant to the New Youth torch-bearers. With great zeal, the 
latter now put the anti-K'ung movement into full swing. 

As spokesman for the group, Ch'en Tu-hsiu first disposed 
of the idea of the 'K'ung religion' by asserting that, since the 
K'ung doctrine had in it 'absolutely nothing like the form 
or substance of a religion/ it could not be made into a state 
dogma. Furthermore, as a system of ethical teaching, which 
is in fact all that it amounts to,- its ideals are incompatible 
with modern life, science, and the republican form of gov- 
ernment. Therefore, Ch'en Tu-hsiu averred that it should 
be discarded as one discards an old worn-out hat. These 



anti-K'ung scholars also accused the Ju dogma of being used 
as a tool of regimentation by the 'imperial puppets' to 
monopolize the thought of the world and to restrict human 
freedom. They likewise made capital of the traditional sub- 
jection of Chinese women, blaming it all on Master K'ung 
and his 'cannibalistic doctrine of /i,' and declared that the 
emancipation of women, to be patterned after Nora, a hero- 
ine of Ibsen's DoWs House, demanded a prior emancipation 
from the K'ung orthodoxy. Thus they laid at Master 
K'ung's door everything that was feudalistic, retrogressive, 
and corrupt in Chinese society - in fact, all the evils that had 
prevented China from progressing towards becoming a strong 
modernized nation. In the fury of their charge they raised the 
battle cry 'Down with K'ung and Sons !' 

As was to be expected, this fierce onslaught headed by 
Gh'en Tu-hsiu, and supported by all the wide-awake young 
men of the period, was too much for the tottering K'ung 
faction. Crushed and crestfallen, they began to yield ground. 
Indeed, things had gone from bad to worse for them. By this 
time Yuan Shih-k'ai, their political boss, had died heart- 
broken after an unsuccessful attempt to make himself em- 
peror of China; and K'ang Yu-wei, their spiritual protagon- 
ist, had withdrawn from public life after having incurred the 
wrath of the nation by his part in an abortive coup d'etat 
(1917) to restore Pu Yi, the abdicated Manchu emperor, to 
the Chinese throne. 8 With their leaders defeated and dis- 
credited because of these monarchical plots, the entire 
K'ung camp now packed up to depart in disgrace into the 
darkness of oblivion. 

5. An Afterglow 

THE K'ung doctrine, however, has been granted a brief 
respite before being brought to its last judgement. The fiery 
assaults of its opponents notwithstanding, its tenacious hold 
on Chinese life for over twenty centuries cannot be lightly 
shaken in the space of a few decades. To be sure, the pattern 
of Chinese society of olden times started falling apart, and its 
foundation was undermined when the large family system, 


the basis of Master K'ung's ethical and political teachings, 
collapsed with the impact of the West. But since no revolu- 
tion of such an immense size and scope can be accomplished 
in a generation, the venerable tradition of the K'ung school 
still endures amidst all the vicissitudes of the last half 

Signs are not lacking that Master K'ung has actually in- 
spired many of the new movements in recent years. Most 
closely connected with him was a movement for the preser- 
vation of China's national culture, which came as a reaction 
against the wholesale importation of foreign ideas and books 
by the new intellectuals. To offset their influence, Chang 
T'ai-yen, a famous classicist, started a crusade to diffuse the 
K'ung learning among the students of his university. He 
was joined by another group of scholars who maintained 
that, instead of complete Westernization as advocated by 
Hu Shih and others, the panacea for China's trouble was a 
revival of her ancient heritage, the best that is in her civiliza- 
tion. Supporters of the latter proposal adopted as their slo- 
gan: 'Western knowledge for practical affairs; Chinese cul- 
ture for the basic pattern of life.' And, of course, for a coun- 
try that had long been moulded by the K'ung teaching, 
Chinese culture meant K'ung culture. To be sure, no one 
to-day would openly avow a complete return to the K'ung 
authority as did K'ang Yu-wei and Ch'en Huan-chang; but 
there have been many 'middle-readers' who in their insist- 
ence on keeping alive the torch of ancient learning main- 
tain a spiritual kinship with the Ju tradition and end up, 
whether consciously or unconsciously, as latter-day K'ung 

Also noteworthy is a tendency among Chinese scholars to- 
wards re-evaluating and reconstructing a new K'ung philo- 
sophy in the light of Western knowledge. Prominent among 
this group is Liang Sou-ming, who after a critical examina- 
tion of the relative merits of the philosophies and civiliza- 
tions of the East and the West came forth to champion the 
wisdom of the Orient, whether it be Gautama Buddha's or 
K'ung Ch'iu's, against that of the Occident. For his part, 

1 88 


Liang believed that the teaching of the K'ung school, 'in its 
philosophy of change as "production and reproduction", in 
its doctrine of Reason as a universal principle of existence, 
and in its theory of incessant transformation resulting from 
the constant operation of the universal active arid passive 
forces, offered the most suitable philosophy for China in a 
modern dynamic world.' 9 It is obvious that Liang Sou- 
ming, despite his many protests, is at heart a K'ung follower, 
to whom the only way out for China to-day is still by the 
same beaten path that leads ultimately to the K'ung school. 

Delving even deeper into the fountain-head of Chinese 
philosophy with a view to evolving a new system of his own, 
Fung Yu-lan, a prominent scholar, makes the greatest single 
philosophical contribution to contemporary China in his 
New Rational Philosophy, published in four parts dealing separ- 
ately with its metaphysical, ethical, historical, and methodo- 
logical aspects. Fung's historical study of Chinese philosophy, 
undertaken for the first time in China, is also the best on the 

On the political front, the K'ung dogma is likewise not 
altogether without its influence. Even revolutionists like Sun 
Yat-sen saw fit to introduce into his * Three People's Prin- 
ciples' a large dose of the K'ung ethics as a stimulant for the 
moral rejuvenation of his fellow-countrymen. 10 This is not 
strange, because for any one to divorce himself entirely from 
Master K'ung's tenets is to dissociate himself from the spiri- 
tual heritage of the Chinese race, which no political leader 
can afford to do. The influence of Wang Yang-ming is also 
clearly shown in Sun's philosophical contention that 'action 
is easy, but knowledge difficult.' Later, when the Kuomin- 
tang came into power in 1927, some of its theorists like Tai 
Chi-t'ao, who were K'ung followers at heart, began openly 
to exalt the Master's teaching by declaring that the re- 
generation of the Chinese race lay in the restoration of her 
ancient culture and virtue - these, of course, have long been 
immersed in the traditions of the K'ung school. Likewise, 
the New Life Movement inaugurated by Chiang Kai-shek 
in 1934 was inspired by the K'ung virtues of li (propriety), 



yi (righteousness), lien (integrity), and ch'ih (honour), a 
practical application of which, so it was believed, would 
help the country to stand on her feet again. 

At about the same time, the Kuomintang government be- 
gan to encourage the study of the K'ung classics, which had 
been discarded from the school curriculum. The govern- 
ment also restored Master K'ung to his pedestal of honour 
as China's first and greatest teacher by observing his tradi- 
tional birthday on the 27th day of the eighth month in the 
lunar calendar, now shifted to August 27th, as Teacher's 
Day, a national holiday. Though no sacrifices were offered 
to Master K'ung on this occasion, memorial services were 
frequently conducted in his honour. His lineal descendant, 
the seventy-seventh generation removed, was once more en- 
nobled in his 'ducal' residence at Ch'ii-fu, the Master's 
birthplace. There, in 1935, an architectural survey of the 
great K'ung temple, many of its buildings erected in 1 730 
and now in a state of dilapidation, was being made with a 
view to its renovation, which would cost the tax-payers in 
those pre-infl ationary days around a million and a half dol- 
lars. If it had riot been for the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, 
which wrecked the project, the magnificent K'ung temple, 
with all its halls, pavilions, monuments, and gateways 
dressed with a new look, would have stood to-day to impress 
pilgrims with the ever-reviving greatness of the sage. But as 
it is, the hope for the revival of Master K'ung proves to be 
ephemeral in the world of both men and ideas - an after- 
glow soon to disappear behind the western mountains. 11 

6. Verdict Unknown 

IT is an uncomfortable thought to all worshippers of au- 
thority that the K'ung dogma, which was so strongly en- 
trenched in the human mind in the past centuries, should 
now be in danger of being stripped of its power and prestige 
by the people's court. In spite of the above-mentioned at- 
tempts at its restitution, it now appears almost certain that 
the day will never dawn when the K'ung orthodoxy will 



regain its strong hold on the intellectual life of the Chinese 
nation. The former adoration of the intelligentsia is over, 
and gone with it is the Master's authority and influence. The 
younger generation, brought up in the days of the 'Down- 
with-K'ung and-Sons Movement', will never look at Master 
K'ung with the same eyes of awe and respect as did their 
ancestors. It is indeed epoch-making that the greatest idol 
humanity has ever built should now be in the process of 
being dethroned, if not broken! 

But against these sweeping conclusions the reader may 
protest. He may say, for instance, that history will repeat it- 
self and that the present may be merely another period of 
eclipse of the K'ung doctrine as in the days of the First Gh'in 
Emperor. It will be remembered that at that time, only a 
few decades after the Gh'in proscription, the Master had 
risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of his buried followers 
and his burnt works to play a role greater than any he had 
ever played in his lifetime. Might it not be, the wise reader 
may ask, that again Master K'ung might be raised to a 
throneless kingship in the intellectual realm in future gener- 
ations ? 

In our opinion, however, this kind of revival is not likely 
to happen. Times have changed, and so has the basic struc- 
ture of Chinese society, especially the family system, on 
which the K'ung doctrine is based. Moreover, the gap be- 
tween the Ch'in and Han and the subsequent ages was not 
so wide as is that between the Manchu monarchy and the 
young China of 1954; nor were the changes then as radical 
and thoroughgoing as they are now. But, most important of 
all, there is to-day a phenomenal transformation in Chinese 
mentality that is revolutionary in both its scope and inten- 
sity. Whereas the Han people readily returned to Master 
K'ung's kindly concepts of etiquette and morality in their 
reaction against the tyranny of Ch'in, the Chinese people of 
these modern times, who have been newly liberated from 
the fetters of tradition and, furthermore, baptized in the 
liberal ideas of the West, would never willingly go back to 
any enslaving orthodoxy of the past, not even an enlightened 


K'ung dogma stripped of its undesirable elements. No 
longer isolated and self-contained, China will look audaci- 
ously ahead into the future instead of returning to the past. 
The past, of course } will be studied, examined, and even 
treasured, but not to be upheld as an unerring criterion for 
all future efforts. Chances indeed are slight of the revival of 
the K'ung doctrine as a dominant influence on Chinese life. 

But how about the genuine and humanized K'ung Ch'iu, 
that dignified but affable schoolmaster of Chou, shorn of 
the authoritarianism that has been superimposed upon 
him? How about those wise, pure words of his not yet 
spoiled by later contamination? And how about the under- 
lying spirit of the Ju philosophy without its extraneous 
matter ? 

These are indeed weighty and intriguing questions, in the 
answers to which will be found a true light on the subject. 
First of all let us reiterate our belief that the 'de-deification' 
of Master K'ung is after all a good thing for all concerned - 
not only for the Chinese nation in general, but also for 
Master K'ung himself. By detaching and disentangling from 
him all that is false and superficial we shall be able to see 
more clearly the real K'ung Ch'iu, who, we believe, will 
loom large in the pages of history as an intellectual figure. 
Next, as a result of this 'debunking', Master K'ung's 
achievements in his own time will be better appreciated, 
just as his contributions to posterity will be more highly 
valued. Moreover, this process makes possible a sifting of 
his teachings ; the good ones to be treasured as a part of the 
national heritage, and the worthless to be rejected as too 
obsolete for modern usage. In this way, too, many of the un- 
pleasant things now attributed to Master K'ung will be dis- 
counted and the charges cleared up. Lastly, a new Chinese 
philosophy, we believe, should be formulated to replace the 
Ju dogma that has already spent its strength and served its 
purpose. But this should not be done without first incorpor- 
ating into the new system the best elements in the Ju as well 
as in the other philosophies. This synthesis of Chinese 
thought, once half-heartedly attempted by the Sung scholars 



because of their limitations, would contribute substantially 
towards the creation of a new world philosophy that is, if we 
are able to read the signs of the times, in the process of being 
initiated. 12 But all these are at best mere conjectures or wish- 
ful thinking; the time is yet premature to predict what will 
ultimately happen to Master K'ung and his philosophy. 
The verdict of posterity is unknown. 


Appendix I 


Legendary Emperors 

Fu Hsi (Conqueror of Animals) 

Shen Nung (Divine Husbandman) 

Huang Ti (Yellow Emperor) 72698-2599 ii.c. 

Sage Kings 

Yao 72357-2258 B.C. 

Shun 72255-2208 B.C. 

Yu (Founder of Hsia Dynasty) 72205-2 198 B.C. 

Tang (Founder of Shang Dynasty) ? 1765-1 760 B.C. 

Wen (Founder of Chou Dynasty) 

Wu (son of Wen; Founder of Chou Dynasty) . . ?i 122-1 1 16 B.C. 

Three Dynasties 


Shang (or Yin) ?i 766-1 122 B.C. 

Chou (Feudal Age) 11227-256 B.C. 

Western Chou 11227-771 u.c. 

Eastern Chou 

Spring and Autumn Period 722-481 B.C. 

Period of the Warring States 403-221 B.C. 


Ch'in ... 221-207 B.C. 

Han . . 206 B.C.-A.D. 2^ 

Former Han ... 206 B.C.-A.D. 8 

Hsin (Wang Mang) . 9-23 A.D. 

Later Han 25-220 A.D. 

Three Kingdoms . . 22 1-264 A.D. 

Tsin .. .. 265-316 A.D. 

Northern and Southern Dynasties 317-588 A.D. 

Sui 589-618 A.D. 

T'ang 618-907 A.D. 

Five Dynasties 907-960 A.D. 

Sung 960-1 279 A.D. 

Yuan (Mongol) 1280-1368 A.D. 

Ming 1368-1644 A.D. 

Ch'ing (Manchu) 1644-191 1 A.D. 

Republic igia- 


Appendix II 




Hi Stnrual 





Greece and 



Mid-Shan? (Yin) 




I too 

Chou Dvnasty 

The Clasnt of 
History, the 

Km* Wen 

C/avnc of 
Poetry, the 


Duke Chou 

Claw of j 

(jhan%t pio- i 


duced during 

these cen- 



722. Brcinnin? of 

thf Ch'un CVm 

(Spring and Au- 
tumn) Period 





(c. 600) 

536. First Written 
Law Code 

K'ung Ch'iu 


(c. 530) 


\5"3 r ~ 


Tseng Ts'an 



(c. 500) 


481. End of the 
Cli'un Ch'iu 

(c. 470-399) 





403-221. Warring 
States Period 

Men R K'o 





(d. 338) 





Hsiin Ch'ing 

Han Fei 


(d. 233) 

Ch'in Dvnasty 


221. First Emperor 


Han Dynasty 
206 B.G.-A.D. 220 

Tung Chung- 
shu (179?- 


140-87. Emperor 

136. Confuci- 


anism made 




Imperial Catalogue 



Liu Hsin 


(d. 23) 

(d. 65) 

Pan Ku (32- 

WangCh'ung I 



Adapted from Chinese Philosophy in Classical Times, by E. R. Hughes 



1. Page 15. For a discussion of this subject, sec Hu Shih, 'On the Ju, J in 
his Recent Essays on Learning (Chinese), Shanghai, 1935, 3-102; Fung 
Yu-lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy (Chinese), n, Appendix, 1-61; 
Ch'ien Mu, An Interlinking Chronology of the Ante-Ch'tn Philosophers 
(Chinese), 85-8, 92; and Ch'ien Mu, An Outline of Chinese National 
History (Chinese), Shanghai, 1948, 1, 65-6. 

2. Page 15. The Duke of Chou (lath century B.C.), one of the great 
figures in ancient Chinese history, was highly praised by Master 
K'ung as a model statesman. He helped his father, King Wen, and 
his brother, King Wu, to establish the Chou dynasty and to institute 
the feudal system that lasted for many centuries. 

3. Page 19. Lun-yu (The Analects}, Bk xv, Ch. 38. 

4. Page 22. In the course of the Ch'in fire, as told later in Ch. vn, most 
of the K*ung classics were destroyed. But they were restored later by 
the Han scholars. It is believed that these Han versions are substanti- 
ally the same as those handed down by Master K'ung himself. 

5. Page 22. Master K'ung once called himself a transmitter who be- 
lieved in and lovrd the ancients. (Lun-yu, vn, i.) 

6. Page 23. The Chou Li ( The Ritual of Chou) was supposed to have been 
written by the Duke of Chou, but his authorship has been generally 
discredited by scholars, and the book itself is now considered as a 
much later work, probably at the time of the Warring States (5th~3rd 
century B.C.). Also of dubious origin are the Kuan-tzu (The Works of 
Master Kuan), a Legalist book attributed to Kuan Chung, a great 
statesman of the yth century B.C. and the Too Teh Ching ( The Classic 
of Tao) t attributed to Lao-tan, a senior contemporary of Master 
K'ung. After such elimination, the Ch'un Ch'iu (Spring and Autumn) 
becomes the first Chinese book written by a known author. 

7. Page 23. Meng-tzu (The Works of Master Meng), Bk in, Pt ii, Ch. 9. 

* (i) All Chinese Classics and other standard works that are quoted here 
are given their original titles in transliteration with English translations 
in parenthesis. In the case of Lun-yu and Meng-tzu, the usual practice of 
indicating Bk and Ch. without referring to any specific edition is fol- 
lowed. (2) The Szu-pu Pei-yao and Szu-pu Ts'ung-k'an editions are both 
standard libraries of Chinese books published respectively by the Chung 
Hwa Book Co. and the Commercial Press in Shanghai. (3) Other 
Chinese books, to which references are made, are indicated as such in 
parenthesis. Most of these books are included in Bibliography, Part Two: 
Chinese Books. 



8. Page 23. Cf. Meng K'o's somewhat exaggerated claim that 'When 
Master K'ung completed the Spring and Autumn rebellious ministers 
and villainous sons were struck with terror.' Ibid. These words, how- 
ever, make a good testimony to the significance of the book which, 
though unimportant to us, had nevertheless a great influence in its 
time when the lessons of history it contains were still fresh in the 
minds of its readers. 

<> Page 24. For a list of the sage kings and their periods, see Appendix I. 
All these kings were noted for their great virtue. Yao and Shun were 
model rulers who, instead of leaving the throne to their lineal de- 
scendants, yielded it to their sage ministers, i.e. Yao to Shun, and 
Shun to Yu. Yii, the founder of Hsia, the first Chinese dynasty, was 
the saviour of the Chinese people from a devastating flood that had 
overrun the land. When the last of the Hsia kings, who came to the 
throne some 400 years later, proved to be a tyrant, he was over- 
thrown by the virtuous Tang, who established the Shang dynasty. 
Likewise, after some 600 years, the Shang came to an end during the 
reign of Chou Hsin, another tyrant, and it was succeeded by the 
Chou dynasty, whose founders, as we have already noted, were King 
Wen, King Wu, and the Duke of Chou. Some modern critics, how- 
ever, doubt the existence of Yao, Shun, and Yu as well as the his- 
toricity of the Hsia dynasty. Still others believe that the entire story 
of these sage kings was invented by the Confucianists to give authority 
to their political teachings. 


i. Page 28. Hsiao Ching (The Classic of Filial Piety), Ch. i. 
'2. Page 29. The exception is Yu Jo, who is also mentioned as Master Yu 
in Lun-yu, i, 2, 12, 13, etc. 

3. Page 30. Ta-hsueh (The Great Learning), Introduction, 'The Text of 

4. Page 30. Ibid. 

5. Page 31. Liu Hsiang, Shuo-yuan (Collection of Anecdotes), Szu-pu Pei- 
yao Ed., Bk iv, p. 2. 

6. Page 32. Meng-tzti, v, ii, 6 and 7. 

7. Page 32. In his Spirit of Chinese Culture Francis Wei, however, says, 
*We have sufficient reason to refuse the acceptance of ... the Doc- 
trine of the Mean as written by Tzu-ssu* (p. 70). 

8. Page 33. Chung-yung (The Doctrine of the Mean), Ch. 5. 

9. Page 33. Ibid., Ch. 20. 

10. Page 33. Ibid., Ch. 22. 

11. Page 34. Ibid.) Gh. 12. 


i. Page 37. See Mei Yi-pao, The Ethical and Political Works of Motse, 
p. 25. 



2. Page 40. In Ch'ien Mu's Interlinking Chronology, pp. 187-210, he dis- 
tinguishes three prototypes of the traditional Lao-tzu. He also identi- 
fies the Lao-tzu who wrote the Classic of Too as a writer of the 4th 
century B.C. 

3. Page 41. Too TehChing (The Clastic of Too) , Gh. 60. 

4. Page 41. Ibid., Ch. 57. 

5. Page 42. Ibid., Gh. 1 1. 

6. Page 42. Ibid., Gh. 5. 

7. Page 42. Ibid., Gh. 6. 

8. Page 42. Ibid., Gh. 38. 

9. Page 42. Ibid., Gh. 12. 

10. Page 43. Ibid., Ch. 48. 

11. Page 43. Ibid., Ch. 42. 

12. Page 44. The best account of the origin of Mo Ti's name is to be 
found in Ch'ien Mu's Interlinking Chronology, pp. 84-91. 

13. Page 44. These criminals were called Mo (black) because their fore- 
heads were tattooed in black. 

14. Page 44. Before joining Master K'ung, Tzu-lu, for instance, was said 
to have adorned his head with cock feathers. Both cock and pheasant 
feathers showed their wearers to be countryfolk. 

15. Page 44. Mo Ti's probable dates are 480-390 B.C.; the places of his 
birth have been variously given as Sung, Ch'i, Lu, and Ch'u. 

1 6. Page 45. Holth, Minus, p. 60. Cf. Chuang-tzu (T/ie Works of Master 
Chuang), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk x, Gh. 33, 'The Empire', p. 15. 

17. Page 45. Chuang-tzu, Bk x, Gh. 33, p. 15. 

1 8. Page 45. Mo-tzu (The Works of Master Mo), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk 
vi, Gh. 25, 'Economy in Funerals', p. 6. 

19. Page 46. Liang Ghi-chao, History of Chinese Political Thought during the 
Early Tsin Period, p. no. 

20. Page 48. See H. A. Giles, Chuang TZU, pp. 368-9. 

21. Page 49. Gf. Legge, Tlie Chinese Classics, 11, 'The Works of Mencius', 
'Prolegomena', p. 102. 

22. Page 49. For the story of Tzu-ch'an, the first Chinese law-maker, see 
Ch. vii, p. 107. 

23. Page 50. The story of Tzu-ch'an and his brothers appears in Lieh-tzu 
(The Works of Master Lieh), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk vn, 'Yang Chu', 
pp. 5-6. 

24. Page 51. Chuang-tzu, Bk vi, Ch. 17, *Autumn Floods', pp. 14-15. 

25. Page 51. Ibid., Bk i, Ch. 2, 'On Levelling All Things', p. 25. 

26. Page 51. Ibid., Bk i, Gh. 2, p. 23. 

27. Page 52. Fung Yu-lan, Chuang TZU, p. 121. 

28. Page 52. Chuang-tzu, Bk x, Ch. 32, 'Lieh Yii-k'ou', p. 12. 

29. Page 52. Ibid. 

30. Page 52. Ibid., Bk vi, Gh. 18, 'Supreme Joy', pp. 17-18. 

31. Page 53. Ibid., Bk vi, Ch. 18, pp. 18-19. 

32. Page 53. Ibid., Bk rv, Ch. 1 1, 'On Tolerance', p. 18. 



33. Page 53. Chuang-t& Bk iv, Gh. u, 'On Tolerance*, p. 18. 

34. Page 54. Ibid., Bk v, Ch. 12, 'Heaven and Earth', p. 3. The Yellow 
Emperor (Huang Ti), legendary founder of the Chinese race sup- 
posed to have lived circa 2700 B.C., is a favourite deity of the Taoists. 

35. Page 54. Ibid., Bk v, Ch. 13, 'Heaven's Tao', p. 16. 

36. Page 54. Ibid. 

37. Page 54. Ibid. 

38. Page 54. Ibid. 

39. Page 54. Ibid. 

40. Page 55. Ibid., Bk ix, Ch. 29, 'Brigand Chih', p. 18. 

41. Page 55. Ibid., Bk ix, Ch. 29, p. 20. 

42. Page 55. Ibid., Bk ix, Gh. 29, p. 21. 

43. Page 56. For a list of these puzzles and their solutions, see H. A. 
Giles, Chuang TZU, pp. 450-3. 

44. Page 56. Fung Yu-lan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, p. 87. 

45. Page 57. Shift Chi (The Historical Records), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk LII, 
Biography, Ch. 10, 'Chang I', p. I. 

46. Page 57. Lionel Giles, in his translation of Sun Tzu, t/ie Art of War, 
calls it 'the oldest military treatise in the world.' Cheng Lin, who 
translates the same work, doubts Sun Wu's authorship, but believes 
that it was written around 510 B.C. Many Chinese scholars to-day, 
however, deny the existence of the man Sun Wu and attribute the 
book to a much later date in the Warring Slates period. 

47. Page 58. It has long been a Chinese belief that the site of a house or 
graveyard should be chosen in harmony with those natural forces 
such as wind and rain (fen%-shui). 


1. Page 59. For an account of the various dates assigned to Meng K'o, 
see Lo Ken-tse,^4 Critical Biography of Mencius (Chinese), pp 9-24. The 
conclusion Lo reaches is that Meng K'o was born area 370 B.C. and 
died circa 290 B.C. Ch'ien Mu's dates for Meng K'o are 390-305 B.C., 
thus making him live twenty years earlier. (An Interlinking Chronology, 
pp. 172-3.) 

2. Page 59. This small principality was not, in the opinion of most 
critics, the town of Tsou, where Master K'ung's father was com- 
mandant and where Master K'ung was born. 

3. Page 60. Liu Hsiang, Lieh-nu Chuan (Biographies of Noteworthy Women), 
Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk i, 'Model Mothers', 'The Mother of Meng 
K'o of Tsou', p. 10. 

4. Page 60. Han Ying, Han Shih Wai-chuan (Han's Marginal Commentary 
on Poetry), Szu-pu Ts'ung-k'an Ed., Bk ix, Ch. i, p. 76. 

5. Page 60. Liu Hsiang, ibid., p. 10. Cf. Han Ying, ibid., p. 76. 

6. Page 61. Liu Hsiang, ibid., p. 1 1. 

7. Page 62. Meng-ttf, Bk in, Pt i, Ch. 2. 

8. Page 63. Ibid. 



9. Page 63. Meng-tza, Bk i, Pt ii, Ch. 13. 

10. Page 64. Ibtd., i, i, i. 

11. Page 64. Ibid., i, i, 3. 

12. Page 65. Ibid., i, i, 4. 

13. Page 65. Ibid., i, i, 6. 

14. Page 65. In Mtng-tzti, n, ii, 6, Meng K'o is said to have been a 
minister (or 'high dignitary* in Legge's translation, The Chinese Clas- 
sics, ii, 95) of Ch'i. 

15. Page 66. i, ii, 6. 

16. Page 68. Ibid., m, ii, 9. 

17. Page 69. Ibid. 

18. Page 69. Ibid. 

19. Page 69. Ibid., m, i, 5. 

20. Page 69. Ibid., in, ii, 9. 

21. Page 70. Ibid., m, ii, 10. 

22. Page 70. Shen Nung, a mythical Chinese emperor of hoary antiquity, 
was supposed to have first taught the Chinese how to till the soil with 
the plough - hence his name, the Divine Husbandman. His descend- 
ants were conquered by the Yellow Emperor, the grandfather of the 
Chinese race. 

23. Page 72. Meng-tzti, in, i, 4. 

24. Page 73. Ibid., iv, i, 17. 


1. Page 75. Meng-tzft, vi, i, 6. 

2. Page 75. Ibid. 

3. Page 76. Ibid., vi, i, 2. 

4. Page 76. Ibid., vi, i, 3. 

5. Page 76. The Bull Mountain was in the south-east outskirts of the 
Ch'i capital. 

6. Page 77. Meng-tzti, vi, i, 8. 

7. Page 78. Ibid., n, i, 6. 

8. Page fQ.Ibid., vi, ii, 2. 

9. Page 78. Ibid., n, i, 6. 
10. Page 79. Ibid., vn, i, 21. 
n. Page 79. Ibid., TV, i, 10. 

12. Page 80. Ibid., iv, ii, 33. 

13. Page 80. Ibid., iv, ii, 12. 

14. Page 81. Ibid., vi, i, 19. 

15. Page 8 1. Ibid., ii, i, 2. 

16. Page8i. Ibid. 

17. Page 82. Ibid., vi, i, 7. 

1 8. Page 82. Lun-yu^ rv, i. 
19., Page 82. Meng-tzU, vi, i, 9. 

20. Page 84. Ibid., ii, i, i. 

21. Page 84. According to the traditional 'well-field* system, which is 

S.H.C.P. 2O I O 


supposed to have existed in the feudal period, arable lands in a fief 
were divided into units of nine squares of 100 mu (a mu is about one- 
sixth of an acre) each, like the Chinese character for a c we!T ffi. 
The eight outer squares were dealt out to eight peasant families for 
cultivation, eacfy family holding 100 mu of land. This was their pri- 
vate field, on which they worked and from the produce of which they 
fed their family of many mouths. In addition, the eight families tilled 
together the central square of the 'well', which was the public field, 
its yearly yield going to the granary of the feudal lord, the hereditary 
master of the land. 

22. Page 85. Meng-tzu, n, i, 5. 

23. Page 86. Ibid., i, i, 7. 

24. Page 86. Ibid., i, i, 3. 

25. Page 86. Ibid., vn, ii, 14. 

26. Page 87. From the 'Great Declarations' in Shang-shu K'ung-ch'wn 
(K* wig's Version of the Classic of History), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk vi, 
Ch. ii, p. 3. 

27. Page 88. Mcng-tz&, i, ii, 8. 

28. Page 88. Ibid., iv, ii, 3. 

29. Page 89. Ibid., iv, i, 14. 

30. Page 89. Ibid. 

3 1 . Page 89. The story of Hsiang Shu's peace conference, as told in the 
Tso Commentary, is found in Legge, The Chinese Classics, Vol. v, Pt ii, 
PP- 532-5- 


1. Page 90. The most probable date of Hsun Ch'ing's birth is 320 B.C. 

2. Page 91. Some Chinese critics consider this part of Hsiin Ch'ing's 
chapter 'On the Twelve Philosophers' as spurious. But there is no 
good reason for excluding it from the authentic text of his works ex- 
cept that it is also this portion which makes its writer unpopular with 
the K'ung scholars. 

3. Page 92. Hsim-tzil (The Works of Master Hsun}, Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., 
Bkxv, Ch. 21, 'Enlightening Ignorance', pp. 3-4. 

4. Page 93. Ibid., Bk rv, Ch. 8, 'The Merits of Ju', p. a. 

5. Page 93. Ibid., p. 3. 

6. Page 95. Ibid., Bk xi, Ch. 17, 'On Heaven', p. 10. 

7. Page 95. Ibid., p. 12. 

8. Page 95. Ibid., p. 9. 

9. Page 95. Ibid., Bk xv, Ch. 21, p. 9. 

10. Page 96. Ibid. 

11. Page 97. Ibid., Bk xvn, Ch. 23, 'Human Nature is Evil', p. i. 

12. Page 98. Ibid., p. 2. 

13. Page 98. Ibid., p. i. 

14. Page 99. See Dubs, The Works of Hstintze, p. 213. Cf. also Hsim-itf, 
Bk XIH, Ch. 1 9, 'On Ritual', p. i. 



15. Page 100. Hsun-tzU, Bk xm, Gh. 19, 'On Ritual', pp. 4-5. 

1 6. Page 100. Ibid., p. 14. 

17. Page 100. Ibid., p. 15. 

1 8. Page 100. Hughes, Chinese Philosophy in Classical Times, p. 249. 

19. Page 101. Here Hsun Gh*ing indulged himself in a happy pun, for 
the Chinese word j*J| means both music (pronounced as yiieh) and 
joy (pronounced as lo) . 

20. Page 101. Hsun-tzA, Bk xiv, Ch. 20, 'On Music', p. I. 

21. Page 101. Ibid. 

22. Page 102. Ibid., p. 3. 

23. Page 102. Ibid. 


1. Page 1 06. Lun-yii, vn, 14. Chinese gowns to-day are still buttoned on 
the right. 

2. Page in. Han-Fei-izu (The Works of Master HanFei), Szu-pu Pei-yao 
E<J., Bk 11, Ch. 6, p. 5. 

3. Page in. Ten-Wen-tati. (The Works of Master Yen Wen), Szu-pu Pei- 
yao Ed., 'The Great Way', Pt ii, p. 16. 

4. Page 1 1 6. Shih Chi, Bk vi, 'Reign of the First Emperor of Ch'in', 
34th Year, p. 17. 

5. Page 1 1 6. Ibid., p. 18. 

6. Page 117. The First Emperor of Ch'in was addicted to magic and 
had in his court many adepts, who promised him the elixir of life and 
immortality. Failing to produce the immortal drug, these magicians 
had to flee for life for fear of the emperor's punishment. At the news 
of their flight, according to the Shih Chi, the emperor was thrown into 
such a rage that 'He ordered the imperial inquisitors to hold an ex- 
amination of the scholars (Ju), who placed the blame one upon the 
other. At this the Emperor himself selected those who had violated 
the prohibitions, numbering more than 460, and had them all buried 
alive at Hsien Yang (the Ch'in capital)/ This account, however, is 
confusing, for it fails to explain why the K'ung scholars should be- 
come the scapegoats of the deserted magicians. 


1. Page 1 1 8. See Duyvendak, The Book of Lord Shang, p. 128. 

2. Page 1 1 9. Shih Chi, Bk xcix, Biography, Ch. 39, 'Shu-sun T'ung*. 
p. 6. 

3. Page 124. 'Tung Chung-shu, the greatest representative of Confu- 
cian thought of the (Han) dynasty, was well known in history for his 
method of praying for rain, which consisted in closing all southern 
gates of the city and forbidding all use of fire while our Confucian 
philosopher stood on the northern gate spraying the passers-by with 
drops of water' (Hu Shih, 'The Establishment of Confucianism as a 



State Religion during the Han Dynasty', in the Journal of the North- 
China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, LX, 34). 

4. Page 126. Tung Chung-shu, Ch'un Ch'iuFan Lu (Copious Dew in Spring 
and Autumn), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk i, Ch. a, Jade Gup', p. 7. 

5. Page 128. One theory has it that the Ritual of Chou was actually 
forged by Liu Hsin himself in order to justify Wang Mang's usurpa- 
tion of the Han throne. This is just as unlikely as its claim to have 
been written by the Duke of Chou. 

6. Page 131. A chung is equivalent to four pecks. 

7. Page 131. Wang Ch'ung, Lun Heng (Animadversions), Szu-pu Pei-yao 
Ed., Bk xxx, Ch. 85, 'Autobiography', p. 2. 

8. Page 132. Hu Shih, 'Han Confucianism' in Zen, Symposium on Chinese 
Culture, p. 46. 

9. Page 132. Wang Ch'ung, ibid., Bk xxiv, Ch. 71, 'Divination', p. 5. 

10. Page 132. See Hu Shih, ibid., p. 46. 

1 1. Page 135. The Thirteen Classics are as follows: 

1 . / Ching ( The Classic of Change) . 

2. Shu Ching (The Classic of History). 

3. Shih Ching (Tfie Classic of Poetry) . 

4. Chou Li (The Ritual ofC/rou). 

5. / Li (The Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial) . 

6. Li Chi ( Tlie Record of Rites) . 

7. TsoChuan (The Tso Commentary) . 

8. Kung-yang Chuan ( The Kung-yang Commentary). 

9. fCu-liang Chuan ( The Ku-liang Commentary) . 
i o. Hsiao Ching ( The Classic of Filial Piety) . 

1 1 . Lun-yii ( The Analects) . 

12. Meng-tzii (The Works of Master Meng) . 

13. Erh-ya (the oldest Chinese dictionary). 


I. Page 136. To the Chinese of those days the 'Western World', i.e. 

India and Central Asia, was the land of the Buddha. 
a. Page 138. For those sage kings, see Appendix: 'Periods of Chinese 


3. Page 138. Han Yu, The Works of Mr Ch'ang-li (Han Yii), Szu-pu Pei- 
yao Ed., Bk xi, 'On the Origin of Tao', p. 4. 

4. Page 139. Ibid. 

5. Page 139. Ibid., p. 5. 

6. Page 140. Such as 'the cauterizing of heads, fingers burnt with in- 
cense, . . . clothes sold to buy offerings, good money flung away, . . . 
right living abandoned, . . . and fanatics slicing themselves in a 
frenzy.' Han Yu, ibid., Bk xxxix, 'A Memorial on the Buddha's 
Bone', p. 5. 

7. Page 140. Ibid. 

8. Page 140. A city in modern Kwangtung province, north of Swatow. 



9. Page 140. Nestorian Christianity, founded by Nestorius, a famous 
patriarch of Constantinople in the 5th century A.D., was first intro- 
duced to China in 635 under the title of the Luminous Doctrine. The 
Nestorian tablet, unearthed in 1625, was fiw* set U P * n a Nestorian 
church in the T'ang capital at Chang-an in 781. Zoroastrianism, the 
religion of the ancient Persians, founded by its prophet Zoroaster, 
and Manichaeism, originated by Mani in the 3rd century A.D., were 
first introduced to China in the 7th and 8th centuries. These three 
religions were called collectively by the Chinese the 'San Hu' or the 
'Three Foreign* religions. 

10. Page 141. i.e. to 'live without working on the farm and raising silk- 
worms and mulberry trees.' Liu Tsung-yiian, The Works of Liu Ho- 
tung (Liu Tsung-yuan), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk xxv, 'Seeing off 
Monk Hao Ch'u', p. 10. 

11. Page 141. Ibid. 

12. Page 142. Ibid. 

13. Page 143. Li Ao, The Works of Li Wen-kung (Li Ao), Szu-pu Pei-yao 
Ed, Bk n, 'Restoration of Human Nature', Essay One, p. 9. 

14. Page 144. Fung Yu-lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy (Chinese), n, 

15. Page 144. Suzuki, Essays on Zen Buddhism, First Series, p. 7. 

1 6. Page 145. See Wei, The Spirit of Chinese Culture , p. no. 

17. Page 148. Fung Yu-lan, ibid., i, 616. 

1 8. Page 149. Liu I-ch'ing, Shih-skuo Hsin-yu (A New Version of the Shih- 
shuo), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed,, Bk in, Ch. 23, 'Profligacy', p. 29. 


1. Page 154. Huang Li-chou, Sung Yuan Hsueh-an (Scholarly Records of 
Sung Yuan Confucianism), annotated by Miu T'ien-shou, pp. 68-9. 

2. Page 155. Ibid., p. 69. 

3. Page 155. Ibid. 

4. Page 156. See Appendix: 'Periods of Chinese History*. 

5. Page 156. Literally, the 'Pre-Heaven' or 'Pre-natal' Diagram. 

6. Page 156. Both Fu Hsi's and King Wen's systems are found in the 
Classic of Change. See Plates i, n, in in Legge, The Yi King (Classic of 
Change), in The Sacred Books of the East, Vol. xvi. 

7. Page 158. Chang Tsai, Complete Works of Master Chang, Szu-pu Pei- 
yao Ed., Bk n, 'Essay on Grand Harmony', p. 3. 

8. Page 158. Huang Li-chou, ibid., p. 149. 

9. Page 1 60. / Ching (Classic of Change), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk vn, 
Appendices, p. 10. 

10. Page 160. Ch'eng Hao and Gh'eng I, Complete Works of the Two 
Ch'engs, Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk xi, 'Discourses of Mr Ming-tao 
(Ch'eng Hao), p. 5. 

n. Page 1 60. Ibid., Bk i, 'Discourses of the Two Masters', p. 3. 

12. Page 162. Fung Yu-lan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, p. 299. 



13. Page 162. Fung Yu-lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy (Chinese), n, 

14. Page 163. Ibid. 


1. Page 165. Lu Chiu-yuan, Complete Works of Hsiang-shan (Lu Chiu- 
yiian), Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk xxxiv, 'Discourses', Pt i, p. 24. 

2. Page 1 66. Ibid. 

3. Page 1 66. Ibid., Bk xxxvi, 'Chronological Biography', p. 3. 

4. Page 167. Ibid., Bk xxxrv, p. i. 

5. Page 167. Wang Shou-jen is better known by his literary name Wang 

6. Page 1 68. He built a retreat in the Yang-ming Grotto - hence his 
name - where he engaged in the Taoist practice of regulating breath- 
ing and nourishing life. 

7. Page 1 68. Wang Yang-ming, Complete Works of Yang-ming, Szu-pu 
Pei-yao Ed., Bk in, 'Records of Transmission', Pt iii, p. 23. 

8. Page 1 68. Ibid. 

9. Page 169. Ibid., Bk xxxn, Appendix i, 'Chronological Biography', 
p. 7. 

10. Page 169. Ibid., Bk i, 'Records of Transmission', Pt i, p. 4. 

11. Page 169. Ibid., Bk in, Pt iii, p. 14. 

12. Page 170. Fung Yu-lan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, p. 313. 

13. Page 170. Wang Yang-ming, ibid., Bk m, p. 20. See also ibid., Bk m, 
pp. 10, 23, etc. 

14. Page 170. Meng-tzU, vi, ii, 2. 

15. Page 171. Wang Yang-ming, ibid., Bk i, p. 3. 

1 6. Page 172. Cf. Sun Yat-sen's theory that 'knowing is more difficult 
than doing.' See Ch. xn, p. 189. 

17. Page 175. Chiang Fan, An Account of the Transmission of Han Confucian- 
ism in our own Dynasty, Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Vol. i, 'Preface', by Yuan 
Yuan, p. i. 

18. Page 177. Actually there were about 1,700 years between K'ung 
Ch'iu and Chu Hsi. This story has been retold in Liang Chi-chao, A 
General Study ofCh'ing Learning (Chinese), pp. 56-7. 


I. Page 1 80. This often quoted passage is as follows: 'When the great 
too flourished, the world was a common state, rulers were elected ac- 
cording to their wisdom and ability, and mutual confidence and 
peace prevailed. Therefore, people not only regarded their parents 
as parents, their children as children, but also those of others as their 
own. Old people were able to enjoy their old age; young men were 
able to employ their talents; juniors respected their elders; helpless 
widows, orphans, and cripples were well cared for. Men had their 



respective occupation, and women their home. . . . This was the 
period of the Great Commonwealth.' Li Chi (T/ie Record of Rites), 
Szu-pu Pei-yao Ed., Bk vii, Ch. 9, p. i. 

2. Page 181. Fung Yu-lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy (Chinese), n 

3. Page 181. Liang Chi-chao, A General Study of Ch'ing Learning, pp. 


4. Page 182. K'ang's reform programme includes the institution of a 
constitutional monarchy and a parliament, the abolition of civil ser- 
vice examination based upon the 'Eight-Legged* essays, the dismissal 
of incompetent officials, the elimination of government red tape, etc. 

5. Page 183. For the assertion of Western scholars that the K'ung 
dogma is a religion, read H. A. Giles, Confucianism and its Rivals, 
Soothill, Three Religions of China, etc. 

6. Page 184. Yuan Shih-k'ai had previously issued a decree on February 
8th, 1914, regarding the sacrifices to Master K'ung, saying, 'The doc- 
trine of Master K'ung and the classical literature are unsurpassed for 
their excellence. The offerings and sacrifices are historical, and it is 
therefore appropriate that the Republic follow the old custom.' 

7. Page 185. Gh'en Tu-hsiu was also one of the founders of the Chinese 
Communist Party, but was later expelled from it as a Trotskyist. 

8. Page 187. The Monarchist movement was started by Chang Hsun, 
a disreputable war lord who seized power in the second decade of the 

9. Page 189. MacNair, China, p. 326. 

xo. Page 189. Sun Yat-sen maintained in his sixth lecture on the 'Prin- 
ciple of Nationalism* that it was important to restore the moral 
standards of ancient China, which he enumerated as: loyalty and 
filial piety, kindness and love, faithfulness and justice, harmony and 
peace. He further quoted and discussed the famous passage in Tht 
Great Learning on regulating the mind, making sincere the purpose, 

11. Page 190. As late as the 19405 there was an attempt to revive the 
K*ung dogma by Cheng Hsiao-hsii, premier of the once Japanese- 
controlled puppet regime, Manchukuo. Cheng was a devoted K'ung 
follower of the reactionary type, and his attempt, like that of K'ang 
Yu-wei and Yuan Shih-k'ai, brought more discredit than good to the 
K'ung cause. 

12. Page 193. Noteworthy among these recent attempts at philosophical 
synthesis are the following books: 

1. Charles A. Moore (Ed.), Philosophy - East and West, 1944. 

2. Filmer S. C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West, 1946. 

3. Oliver Reiser, World Philosophy, a Search for Synthesis, 1948. 

4. Filmer S. C. Northrop, Ideological Differences and World Order, 
Studies in the Philosophy and Science of the World Cultures, 1949. 


A Selected Bibliography 

Part One : English Books 


BECK, ADAM L., The Story of Oriental Philosophy, Philadelphia, 1928. 
CHAN WING-TSIT, An Outline and a Bibliography of Chinese Philosophy, 

Hanover, New Hampshire, 1953. 
CREEL, H. G., Chinese Thought, from Confucius to Mao Tse-tung, Chicago, 

FUNGYU-LAN,^ History of Chinese Philosophy, trans, by Derk Boddc, 2 

vols., Princeton, N.J., 1952, 1953. 

FUNG YU-LAN, yl Short History of Chinese Philosophy, N.Y., 1948. 
FUNGYU-LAN, Tlw Spirit of Chinese Philosophy, trans, by E. R. Hughes, 

London, 1947. 

GILES, HERBERT A., Confucianism and its Rivals, London, 1915. 
HUGHES, E. R., Chinese Philosophy in Classical Times, London, 1942. 
LIANG CHI-CHAO, History of Chinese Political Thought during the Early Tsin 

Period, London, 1930. 

LIN YUTANG (Ed.), The Wisdom of China and India, N.Y., 1942. 
LIN MOUSHENG, Men and Ideas: An Informal History of Chinese Political 

Thought, N.Y., 1942. 

MACNAIR, HARLEY F. (Ed.), China, Berkeley, Calif., 1946. 
MCCLATCHIE, T., Confucian Cosmology, Shanghai, 1874. 
MOORE, CHARLES A. (Ed.), Philosophy - East and West, Princeton, N.J., 


NORTHROP, FILMER s. c., The Meeting of East and West, an Inquiry con- 
cerning World Understanding, N.Y., 1946. 
SOOTHILL,W. E., Three Religions of 'China, Oxford, 1929. 
SUZUKI, D. T., A Brief History of Early Chinese Philosophy, London, 1914. 
WALEY, ARTHUR, Three Ways of Thought in Ancient China, London, 1 939. 
WANG GUNG-HSING, The Chinese Mind, N.Y., 1946. 
WEI, FRANCIS C.M., The Spirit of Chinese Culture, N.Y., 1947. 
ZEN, SOPHIA H. CHEN (Ed.), Symposium on Chinese Culture, Shanghai, 



CHENHUAN-CHANG, The Economic Principles of Confucius and his School 

2 vols., N.Y., 1911. 

CHENGTIEN-HSI, China Moulded by Confucius, London, 1 946. 
COLLIS, MAURICE, The First Holy One, N. Y., 1948. 
CREEL, H. G., Confucius, the Man and the Myth, N.Y., 1949. 
FABER, ERNEST, A Systematic Digest of the Doctrine of Confucius, trans, by 

P. G. von Mollendorff, Shanghai, 1902 ?. 



HSU, LEONARD SHiHLiEN, The Political Philosophy of Confucianism, 

London, 1932. 

KOEHN, ALFRED, Confucius: His Life and Works, Peking, 1945. 
KRAMERS, ROBERT PAUL (trl.), K'ung TZU Chia Tu, The School Sayings of 

Confucius, Leiden, 1949. 
LEGGE, JAMES (trl.), Tht Chinese Classics, 5 vols. in 8, Hongkong, 1862- 


Vol. One : The 'Prolegomena', Confucian Analects, The Great Learn- 
ing, The Doctrine of the Mean. 
Vol. Two: The Works of Mencius. 

Vol. Three: The Shoo King; or, Tlie Book of Historical Documents. 
Vol. Four: The She King; or, The Book of Poetry. 
Vol. Five: The Chun Tsew (Spring and Autumn Annals} with The 

Tso Chuen ( Tso's Commentary) . 

LEOGE, JAMES (trl.), The Sacred Books of China : The Texts of Confucianism 
(in The Sacred Book of the East, ed. by F. Max Muller), Oxford, 


Ptr.The Shu King ( The Book of History), The Religious Portions of the 
Shih King (The Book of Poetry), The Hsiao King (The Book of 
Filial Piety). 

Pt ii : The Ti King (The Book of Changes). 
Pt m: The Li Ki (The Record of Rites). 

SHRYOCK,JOHNK., The Origin and Development of the State Cult of Confu- 
cius, N.Y., 1932. 

STARR, FREDERICK, Confucianism, N.Y., 1930. 
WATTERS, T., A Guide to the Tablets in a Temple of Confucius, Shanghai, 

WILHELM, RICHARD, Confucius and Confucianism, trans, by George E. 

Dan ton and Annina P. Dan ton, N.Y., 1931. 
WU,JOHNC. ii., 'The Real Confucius', T'ien Hsia Monthly, Shanghai, 

Vol. i, 1935. 
YETTS, w. PERCIVAL, The Legend of Confucius, London, 1943. 


CHEN, IVAN (trl.), The Book of Filial Duty, London, 1908. 

HUGHES, E. R. (trl.), The Great Learning and The Mean-in-Action, London, 


LIN YUTANG (trl.), The Wisdom of Confucius, N.Y., 1938. 
LYALL, L. (trl.), The Sayings of Confucius, London, 1909. 
POUND, EZRA (trl.), Ta Hio, The Great Learning, Seattle, 1928. 
POUND, EZRA (trl.), Confucius: The Unwobbling Pivot and the Great Digest, 

Norfolk, Conn., 1947. 

SOOTHILL,W. E. (trl.), The Analects of Confucius, Taiyuan, China, 1910. 
WALEY, ARTHUR (trl.), The Analects of Confucius, N.Y., 1939. 




FORKE, ANTON (trl.), Tang Chu's Garden of Pleasure, London, 1912. 

FUNGYU-LAN (trl.), Chwng TZU : A New Selected Translation with an Ex- 
position of the Philosophy of Kuo Hsiang, Shanghai, 1933. 

GILES, HERBERT A. (trl.), Chuang Tzu: Mystic, Moralist, and Social Re- 
former, London, 1889. 

GILES, LIONEL (trl.), Taoist Teachings from the Book ofLieh Tzu, London, 

HOLTH, SVERRE, Micius, a Brief Outline of his Life and Ideas, Shanghai, 

HU SHIH, The Development of the Logical Metliod in Ancient China, Shanghai, 


LIN YU TANG (trl.), The Wisdom of Laotse, N.Y., 1948. 
ME i YI-PAO (trl.), The Ethical and Political Works of Motse, London, 1929, 
MEIYI-PAO, Motse, the Neglected Rival of Confucius, London, 1934. 
SPALDING,K.J., Three Chinese Thinkers, Nanking, 1947. 
WALEY, ARTHUR (trl.), The Way and its Pow er, London, 1934. 


FABER, ERNEST, The Mind of Mencius, or Political Economy Founded upon 
Moral Philosophy, trans, by Arthur B. Hutchinson, Boston, 1882. 

GILES, LIONEL (trl.), The Book of Mencius (abridged), London, 1942. 

LEGGE, JAMES (trl.), Thf Life and Works of Mencius (same as The Chinese 
Classics, vol. n), Philadelphia, 1875. 

LY ALL, LEONARD A. (trl.), Mencius, London, 1932. 

RICHARDS, I. A., Mencius on tfie Mind: Experiments in Multiple Definition, 
London, 1932. 


CHENG, ANDREWCHIH-YI, Hsunt&fs Tiieory of Human Nature and its In- 
fluence on Chinese Thought, Peking, 1928. 

DUBS, HOMER H., Hsuntze, the Moulder of Ancient Confucianism, London, 

DUBS,HOMERH. (trl.), The Works ofHsuntze, London, 1928. 


BODDE,DERK, China 9 s First Unifier: A Study of the Cttin Dynasty as Seen in 

the Life of Li Ssu, Leiden, 1938. 
DUYVENDAK, j. j. L. (trl.), The Book ofLordShang, a Classic oftheChinese 

School of Law, London, 1928. 
LIAO, w. K. (trl.), The Complete Works ofHanFei Tzu: A Classic of Chinese 

Legalism, London, 1939. 
T'AN PO-FU and WEN KUNG-WEN (trl.), Economic Dialogues in Ancient 

China - Selections from the Kuan-tzu, New Haven, 1954. 


TOMKINSON, L., The Early Legalist School of Chinese Political 
Thought', Open Court, Chicago, Vol. XLV, 1931. 


DUBS, HOMER H. (trl.), The History of Former Han Dynasty, by Pan Ku, 2 

vols., London, 1944. 
FORKE, ALFRED (trl . ) , Lun Heng, Selected Essays of the Philosopher Wang 

Ch'ung, 2 vols., Berlin, 1906-8; 1911. 
nu SIIIH, 'The Establishment of Confucianism as a State Religion 

during the Han Dynasty', Journal of tlie North China Branch of the 

Royal Asiatic Society, Shanghai, Vol. LX, 1929. 
TJAN TJOE SOM (trl.), Po Hu T'ung, the Comprehensive Discussions in tht 

White Tiger Hall, Leiden, 1949. 


BLOFELD,jOHN (trl.), 'The Path to Sudden Attainment: A Treatise of 
the Ch'an School of Chinese Buddhism, by Hui Hai of the T'ang 
Dynasty'. An appendix to Jewel in the Lotus; an Outline of Present-day 
Buddhism in China, London, 1948. 

DOUGLAS, SIR ROBERT K., Confucianism and Taoism, London, 1879. 

DUBS, HOMER H., 'Han Yu and the Buddha's Relic: An Episode in Me- 
dieval Chinese Religion', The Review of Religion, 1946. 

FLEMING, R.J., Buddhist China, London, 1913. 

MORGAN, EVAN (trl.), Tao, t/ie Great Luminant, Essays from Huai Nan Tzu y 
London, 1935. 

SUZUKI, D. T., Essays in %en Buddhism (Three Series), London, 1927, 

'933> 1934- 
WATTE RS, T., 'The Life and Works of Han Yu or Han Wen-kung', 

Journal of the North-China Branch oft/ie Royal Asiatic Society, New Series, 
Vol. vn, 1873. 


BRUCE, j. PERCY, Chu Hsi and his Masters, London, 1 923. 

BRUCE, j. PERCY (trl.), The Philosophy of Human Nature by Chu Hsi, Lon- 

don, 1922. 

HSU, P. c., Ethical Realism in Neo-Confucian Thought, Peiping, 1933. 
TS'AI YUN-CH'UN (trl.), The Philosophy ofCh'eng I, a Selection of Texts 
from the 'Complete Works', N. 


CADY, LYMANVANLAW, The Philosophy of Lu Hsiang-shan, a Neo-Confu- 

cian Monistic Idealist, 2 vols., N.Y., 1939. 
CADY, LYMAN VAN LAW, Wang Yang-ming's l Intuitive Knowledge 9 , Peiping, 




CHANG YU-GHUAN, Wang Shou-jen as a Statesman (reprinted from The 
Review, Vol. xxni), Peking, 1940. 

HENKE, FREDERICK G., 'A Study in the Life and Philosophy of Wang 
Yang-ming'. Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic So- 
ciety, Vol. XLIV, 1913, 

HENKE, FREDERICK o. (trl.), The Philosophy of Wang Tang-ming, Lon- 
don, 1916. 

HUANGSIU-CHI,Z,N Hsiang-shan, a Twelfth Century Chinese Idealist Philoso- 
pher, New Haven, Con. 1944. 


CHANWING-TSIT, Religious Trends in Modern China, N.Y., 1953. 

DAI SHEN-YU, Mao Tse-tung and Confucianism, Ph.D. Dissertation, Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania (microfilm copies available at University 
Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan) . 

FORSTER, LANCELOT, The New Culture in China, N.Y., 1937. 

HUSHIH, The Chinese Renaissance, Chicago, 1934. 

HUMMEL, ARTHUR w. (trl.), The Autobiography of a Chinese Historian, being 
a Preface to a Symposium of Ancient Chinese History, Leiden, 1931. 

JOHNSTON, REGINALD, Confucianism and Modern China, London, 1 934. 

KIANGWEN-HAN, The Chinese Student Movement, N.Y., 1948. 

TSUCHIDA, KROSON, Contemporary Thought of Japan and China, London, 


Part Two: Chinese Books 


CHIANG WEI-CH'IAO and YANG TA-YIN$! $j| ^ $9 "fa f$ 
Chung-kuo che-hsueh shih kang-yao i-Ji |J ^ ^ ^ j||jjj jjjl (An 
Outline History of Chinese Philosophy), 3 vols., Shanghai, 1935. 

CHIN KUNG-LIANG <jfe Q 7fc, Chung-kuo che-hsueh shih i\* gj ^ 
J^ ^ (A History of Chinese Philosophy), Chungking, 1940. 

FUNG YU-LAN $Ej ^ ^, Chung-kuo che-hsueh shih r|i gj ^ ^ |^ 
(A History of Chinese Philosophy), 2 vols., revised ed., Shanghai, 

FUNG YU-LAN $j ^ j$j, Chung-kuo che-hsueh hsiao shih r\* ^ ^ 

^ /J> |t ( A Short History of Chinese Philosophy), Shanghai, 

II ou WAI-LU ^ #\* ^, Chung-kuo ku-tai szu-hsiang hsiieh-shou shih 

3* H ^ ft S SI * Sft & (A History of Ancient Chinese 

Thought and Learning), Chungking, 194.4. 
Hu SHIH $J jjg, Chung-kuo che-hsueh shih ta-kang t\* ^ @ i |{i -fc 

|fl (An Outline of the History of Chinese Philosophy), ist vol., 

revised ed., Shanghai, 1947. 
TAKEUGHI YOSHIO j f^ jj| ^||, Chung-kuo che-hsueh szu-hsiang 

shih *{* |9 f $ @ jg jl* ( A History of Chinese Philosophical 

Thought), trans, by Wang Fu-ch'uan ^ ^, Changsha, 1939. 

CH'IEN Mu ^ ^, Hsien-Cttin chu tz&hsi-nien jfc $fc $ ^ ^ 
(An Interlinking Chronology of the Ante-Ch'in Philosophers), 
Shanghai, 1935. 



CHIN SHOU-SHEN ^ ^ ^ Chi-hsia pai chihyen-chiu ^ ~f jjjf 
; $ |fc (A Study of the Ghi-hsia School), Shanghai, 1930. 

KAO WEI-CH'ANQ jgf $| ||, Chou-Ch'in chu U& kai-lun J^J ^ 
IS -p tU ffo ( A General Study of Chou and Ch'in Philosophers), 
Shanghai, 1930. 

Lo CHIN Jg j^g, Chu tzfl hsueh-shu ^ *? ^ jfi (Teachings of the 
Philosophers), Shanghai, 1935. 

TSUDA SOKIGHI j> [U ^ ^f ^, JM Tiw> ^rA tAw kuan-hsi ^ 
JE Zl ^ tIS ^ ( Tnc Relations between Confucianism and 
Taoism), trans, by Li Ghi-huang ^S jj$| ^, Shanghai, 1926. 


I. Confucius 

CHIANG H^NG-YUAN [g Jg, K'ung-tzii JL ^f- (Confucius), 
Shanghai, 1933. 

Li TUNG-FANG Jg ^ j^, K'wg-tz& JL -^ (Confucius), Chung- 
king, 1944. 

LIAO CHING-TSUN j^ ^ /Jf , Ta tsai K'ung-tzfl ^C ^ ?L ? 
(Great is Confucius), Chungking, 1941. 

Ti TZU-GH*I^ ^f> ^friK'ung-tzupien-nien JL ^f- ^g ^ (AChrono* 
logy of Confucius's Life), Chekiang, 1887. 

UNO TETSUTO ^ ^ ^ A K'ung-W ^ ^ (Confucius), trans, 
by Ch'en Pin-huo f^ ffi ^)c, Shanghai, 1926. 

a. Mencius 

LANG CH'ING-HSIAO j$ ^ .^, Mcng-tzb hsueh-an ^ -Hp $ 
^ (Scholarly Records of Mencius), Shanghai, 1935. 



Lo KEN-TSE j{$ fft jf, Meng-M fing-ch'um } ^ IF if (A 

Critical Biography of Mencius), Shanghai, 1932. 
Ti TZU-CH'I $fc ^ 1$, Meng-tzU pun-nun l ? |@ ^p ( A 

Chronology of Mencius' Life), Chekiang, 1887. 
Ts'ui TUNO-PI <gf Jj gj, Meng-M shih-shih iu ^ 3f* 1|J ^ 

^ (An Account of the Facts of Mencius* Life), reprint, Peking, 



LiuTztf-CHiNoJ)) -^ |5^, Hsiin-tzil ch$-hsiieh kang-yao ^ -^ ^ 
^ jgJJ ^ (An Outline of Hsim-tzu's Philosophy), Changsha, 1938. 

YANG YUN-JU ^ ^ ^p, Hmn-M yen-chiu ^ ^f gf ^ (A Study 
of Hsun-tzu), Shanghai, 1931. 


CHANG MO-SHENG 5M J^ ^fe, Lao-tz& ^ ^ (Lao-tzii), Chung- 

king, 1944. 
CH'ENCHugg U, Lao-hsueh pa p'ien ^ ^ A jf ( Ei ght Essays 

on Laoism), Shanghai, 1928. 
SUN SZU-FANG J^ Jgg, |JJ, Lao-tz& cheng-chih sz&-hsiang kai-lun ^ 

.? Sfc }6 S ffi ll ISr ( A General Study of Lao-tzu's Political 

Thought), Shanghai, 1931. 
WANO Li 3 ^;, La*-tz& yen-chin ^ ? /0f ^S (A Study of Lao-tzu), 

Shanghai, 1928. 
WEI YO AN H jg, Lao-Mpen-i % ^ j H (The Original Doctrine 

of Lao-tzu), Shanghai, 1934. 



2. Chuang-tzti 

LANG CH'ING-HSIAO J||J ^ ff, Chuang-ttfl hsueh-an $ ^f- $jk 
^ (Scholarly Records of Ghuang-tzu), Shanghai, 1934. 

YEH KUO-CH'ING ijg @<J , Chuang-M yen-chiu $ ^ Iffi ^ (A 
Study of Chuang-tzii), Shanghai, 1936. 


CH'IEN Mu -^ |g, Mo-tzu jj^ ^f (Mo-tzu), Shanghai, 1931. 

LIANG CHI-CHAO j Jjjj j|, Mo-tzu hsueh-an S "F ^ ^ 
(Scholarly Records of Mo-tzu), Shanghai, 1921. 

SUN I-JANG J$ to Ul> Mo-tz& hsien-ku H* -f ff] jfj (Commen- 
taries on Mo-tzu), reprint, Shanghai, 1935. 

4. Yang-tzu 

GH'EN T'ZU-SHENG [SjjJ ]tfc ^, Yang Chu ifjfa jfc (Yang Ghu), 
Shanghai, 1928. 

I. Confucian Classics 

CH'IEN CHI-PO J f^, Szu-shu chiai-t'i chi ch'i tu-ft ^jf 
f$ H ^ jj: |f ^ (An Elucidation of the Problems in the 
Four Books and Suggestions for Studying Them), Shanghai, 1934. 

CH'IEN Mu ^ jf|J, Lun-yu yao-lueh ffe p pf 3? R& (Summaries of the 
Analects) t Shanghai, 1934. 

CHOU YU-TUNG ^J ^* |pj, CA'i/n <:^in^ Afli-/M l^f jgg ^6 Ifit (^ 
General Study of the Classics), Shanghai, 1933. 

GHU Hsi ^ ^, Szu-shu chang-chii chi chu \m ^jjf *%L fa] ffe % 
(Collected Notes on the Four Books), reprint, Shanghai, 1935. 



HONDO NARIYUKI 2J ffl jfc ., Ching-hstieh shift lun gg Jfl j 

ffo (An Historical Study of Classical Scholarship), trans, by Chianp 

Hsieh-an {E / 0J 3|;> Shanghai, 1934. 
Liu PAO-NAN flj |g ffi, Lun-yu cheng-i fft fg> Jg g| (An Ortho- 

dox Interpretation of the Analects] , reprint, Shanghai, 1934. 
WEN YU-MING JH ${f g, Lun-yiiyen-chiu ft | fif SK ( A Stud V 

of the Analects), Shanghai, 1933. 

2. /& Confucianism 

CHOU YU-TUNG jij -^ |n], CAm^ chin-ku-wen hsiieh $ ^ ifc ^C 
1 (Ancient and Modern Script Classics), Shanghai, 1934. 

3. Sung and Titan Confucianism 

CHIA FENO-CH^N f ^ ^, Sung-hsueh ^ J^ (Sung Confucian- 

ism), Shanghai, 1934. 
CHIANG FAN ^> Sung-hsueh yuan-yuan chi ^ ^ |^ {g |B 

(An Account of the Sources of Sung Confucianism), reprint, 

Shanghai, 1935. 
CHOU YU-TUNG jl| ^ |P], Chu Hsi fc (Ghu Hsi), Shanghai, 

HUANG LI-CHOU ^ $& ^|>|, ^M/Z^ Twan hsueh-an 5ft 7C ^ 1^ 
(Scholarly Records of Sung- Yuan Confucianism), selected and 
annotated by Miu T*ien-shou j$| 5^ ^, Shanghai, 1933. 

4. Ming and Ch l ing Confucianism 

CHIA FENO-CH^N ff ^ ^, Tang-ming hsueh $ f% ^ (The 
Teachings of Yang-ming), Shanghai, 1930. 



CHIANG FAN ^, Kuo-ch'ao Han-hsiieh shih-ch'eng chi pj| tffl $| 

<| $$ ^C ftiJ (An Account of the Transmission of Han Gontucian- 

ism in Our Own Dynasty), annotated by Chou Yii-tung J\ ^ 

|pj, Shanghai, 1934. 
GH'IEN Mu g| ;fg, Wang Shou-jen 3 T? f^ ( Wan S Shou-jen), 

Shanghai, 1933. 
Hou WAI-LU ^ ^ ^ Chung-kuo cfnn-\hih sz&-hsiang hsueh-shou shih 

't'HStiflrJHliS^lftJlKA History of Modern Chinese 

Thought and Learning), ist vol., Chungking, 1944. 
HUANG LI-CHOU JJ JJl ^, Mm?-J" /uttfA-w I])] fj| i |g 

(Scholarly Records of Ming Confucianists), selected and annotated 

by Miu T'ien-shou ^ ^ ^, Shanghai, 1933. 
LIANG CHI-CHAO ^ g 0, Ch'ing-tai /uueh-shu kai-lun ffi ft 

^ $4 ffi Ufa ( A General Study of Ch'ing Learning), Shanghai, 


5. Confucianism in the Modern Period 

HATTORI UNOKICHI JJ^ |J ^ . ^> Ju-chiao yii hsien-tai szu- 
ch ' ao i^u IJC K 51 ft : $J] (Confucianism and Contemporary 
Thought), trans, by Cheng Chih-ya ||ft ; J^, Shanghai, 1934. 



Part One : Proper Names and Characters 

Ai, Emperor (Han) J^ $$ ($|), Ch'en Tu-hsiu |>j $ 3?, 185-7 

127 Ch'en T'uan |^}j J^, 153 

An-kuo ^j? |j|] (see K'ung An-kuo) cheng .jf| , 33 

Cheng J||), 49, 107 
Cheng, King (Ch'in) jj ] (^), 

Chang, Emperor (Han) j"j7l $? no, 114 

(iH)> *27 Cheng Hsiian f}|$ j, 130, 178 

Chang ijg (Chang Ling), 147 Ch'eng f!|, 152, 153, 159-61, 163 

(Chang Tsai), 159 Ch'eng Hao f? gfj, 152, 159-60 

Chang I ijg f|, 57 Ch'eng I | r gg, 152, 159-60, 

Chang Ling i}J| |5^, 146 147 162, 163 

Chang T'ai-yen != ^ ^, 188 tA'i ^, 154, 157, 158, 160-2 

Chang Tsai 5ft 4!c> ^s, 153, Ch'i '^, 20, 21, 36, 44, 57, 61, 63, 

157-9, 161 65-7, 79, 82, 83, 88, 90, 1 06, 

Chang-an J ^O 122, 135, 139 107, no, 113 

Ch'anism (Ch'an) jjjtjr, 144, 145, Ch'i-tiao K'ai $fc $jfc [JfJ, 27 

167 Chiang Kai-shek $f ^ /Q , 189 

Chao jg, 36, 57, 90, 107, 113 Otim $, 154, 156, 157 

Chao, King (Gh'in) flg J (^)> chih ^p, 25, 78, 79, 125 

92 Chih, Brigand ^ JfJ, 55 

Chaochow j -jf(, 140 ch'jh Jjfc, 190 

Ch'en gfc, 184 Ch'in ^, 36, 57, 90, 92, 107-10, 

Ch'en Chung |Sjj( ^iji, 70 112-9, I2I > r 74> X 8o> J 9 ! 

Ch'en Hao jp ^, 167 cAiw^ jji[, 130 

Ch'en Huan-chang ^ <f$| ^, Ching, Emperor fHsm) ^ ^f 

184, 188 (JJ|), 121, 128 



Ch'ing $f, 175, 176, 178, 179, 
185, 186 

Chou JjfJ (dynasty), 14, 15, 17, 
20-3, 3 6 38-4i 47, 54. 56, 83, 
87,94, l i> i<>5> H3-5 Il8 - 2I > 
135, 146, 151, 156, 177, 180, 
192 (Ghou Tun-i), 153, 159 

Chou faf (sec Chou Hsin) 

Chou, Duke ]S) ^, 15, 22, 50, 
56,92, 107, 128, 138, 156, 176 

Chou Hsin faf 3r> 88 

Chou Tun-i (Master Chou) |3f) 

$fc (Sf. J 53-5, 156, I57 '59> 


Chu ^, i Si, 163, 1 66, 167, 173 
Chu Hsi (Master Chu) jfc ^, 

'S3, '59, l6 -3 '65-9* 7- 

I73> I74> 176, 177 
Ch'u *g, 36, 40, 44, 47, 51, 52, 

57, 63,66, 82, 83, 91, 113 
Ch'ii-fu ^{} J||, 133, 190 
Chuang Chou # ^, 50-4, 56, 

92, 146, 147 
chung fa, 25 
chung g|, 131 

, 108 

Fa Hsien fi .if, 137 

Fan Chi ^g Jg, 20 

feng-shui ]& 7^ 58 

Fo gfc, 141 

Fu Hsi tfj ||, 155, 156 

FuShcns{^ ^, 119, 120 

Fung $}, 189 

aniB jjg,i8 9 

, 36, 57, 107, no, 113 
Han Q|, 22, 118-24, I 26~3i, 133, 

J 35> l &> X 4 6 > J 54> l6 4> i75 

178, 180, 191 
Han Fci $j^ ^, 27, 109-11, 113, 

114, 132 

Han Yu $ ^;, iS^o* H 1 ! H^ 
Hao g{J (see Ch'eng Hao) 
Ho Yen jpj , 147 
Hongkong ^ J!g, 182 
Hsia g, 39, 44 
Hsiang, King (Liang) j| 3E 

(K). 65 

Hsiang Hsiu |p] ^, 147 
Hsiang Shu |pj J^JJ, 89 
Hsiang-shan ^ jl] (see Lu Chiu- 

Hsiao-cheng, King (Chao) ^ 



JE& 3l (3) 90 * EH (see Ch'eng I) 
Hsicn, Emperor (Tang) j| ^ 

(Jlf )> '39 

Hsien-yang j^ p^, 114, 115, Jan Ch'iu -fty }f, 89 

117 Jan Yu jfit 2$O 62 

fc M> 25, 125 > tl, 25, 64, 78-81, 83, 88, 99, 
Hsin jjj, 159, 165 125 

Hsin $f, 129 J {, 13-5, 17, 23-7, 31, 34, 44, 
Hsin ^ (see Liu Hsin) 48, 54-6, 59, 64, 68, 74, 90-3, 

Hsu Hsing (Master Hsu) fjfr ^y, 97, 102, 104, 105, 112, 117, u 8, 

7 121, 122, 127, 133, 135, 136, 

Hsiian, Emperor (Han) j|[ *fft 138, 139, 141, 143, 146, 147, 

Hsiian, King (Ch'i) ^ ^ (ffi), 172-5, 178, 180, 184, 186-8, 

65, 66, 88 192 

Hsun ^ffj, 93, 94, 103, 105, 130, 


Hsiin Gh'ing (Master Hsun) ^ Kai-fcng |$) ^j-, 152 

!|P, 27, 90-104, 109, no, 114, K'ang J5J, 179-84 

119, 125, 161 K*ang Yu-wei ^ ^f j, 179-82, 
Hu Shih $} Jg, 185, 188 183, 187, 188 

Hua-yen 3fe j|^, 145 Kao, Master ^ -^p, 75, 76 

Hui, King (Liang) 3j[ ^ (^g), Kiangsi f g, 165 

48, 63-5, 85, 89 K'o $pf (see Meng Ko) 

Hui Shih JfJ Jj^, 56, 92 Ku Yen-wu |gj Jj| jj, 176 

Hui-nan, Prince (Han) ^ ^ Ku-liang Ch'ih fj ^ 1^' I26 

I (S|)j J 4^ Kuan Chung ^ ^iji, 106, 107 

Hui-neng ^ f^, 145 Kuang Hsu Jfc Jg, 182 




K'un i$, 154., 156, 157 
K'un-lun jg. $, 5 3 
Kung, Prince (Han) ^h 

120, 128 

Kung-hsi Ghih fe gg 55* 20 
Kung-sun Lung fc Jfc f||, 56 
Kung-yang Kao fc ~^. jj^f, 126 
Kung-yeh Ch'ang ^ ?p J|, 20 
K'ung JL> ! 4 l8 -20, 24, 25, 27, 
28, 31, 32, 34, 36, 38-40, 44, 
47-50* 54, 55, 59-61, 68, 74, 
90-3, 101, 103, 109-13, 115, 
1 1 6, 118-34, 136-8, 141-3, 
146-54, 1 6 1-4, 167, 1 68, 172-5, 
179, 182-92 

K'ung An-kuo ft % gg, 120 
K'ung Ghich ft tft 3 
K'ung Ch'iu (Master K'ung) ft 
BL> i3-5 >7-25> 26-36, 38-46, 
5 54 55 59 61, 62, 67, 69, 72, 
74, 77, 82-4, 86, 87, 89, 91-8, 
100-3, I0 5~7> II2 117-21, 124, 
125, 129, 130, 132-6, 138, 141, 
147, 149, 164, 167, 

K'ung-fii-tztt JL ^ ?. '4 
K'ung Li ft jg, 18, 31 
Kuo Hsiang fR |^, 147 



jg[, 189, 


Lan-ling g| |^, 90, 91, 109 
Lao-tan jg ^ 20, 39-40, 41, 44, 

54 J49 
Lao-tzu ;g ^f, 39, 41-6, 48, 94, 

143, 146, 147 
H ift> r 7-20, 24, 25, 27, 42, 54, 78, 

79, 98-100, 125, 180, 187, 189 
It (Li) gl, 158-62, 168, 169 
Li ^, 149 
Li |H (sec K'ung Li) 
LiAo^S^, 142-3 
Li Ssu ^ JJf, 109 uo, 114-6 
Liang $ (state), 61, 63, 85, 89 

(dynasty), 134, 137, 144 (Liang 

Sou-ming), 189 
Liang Sou-ming g $ft gj, 188, 


lien $, 190 
Liu fp, 141 
Liu Hsiang |J |pj, 128 
LiuHsingl] ^, 128-30 
Liu Ling $\\ fa, 148-9 
Liu Pang flj 



Liu Tsung-yfcan #p ^ 7^, 141-2 Mo jg, 44, 45, 47, 48, 69 

Lo j& *5> 2 40 Mo Ti U| 5J, 43-8, 50, 68, 69, 

Lo-yang $}> g|, 136, 151, 152 92, 100, 159 

Lu ^L, 17, 18, 21, 23, 31, 44, 53, mu jjj^, 85, 86 
55> 59> 61, 62, 68, 90, 91, 119, 

120, 128, 133 

Lu |5?{?, 165-7 Nanking "j^j }Jf, 134 

Lu Ghiu-ling (Lu T/.u-shou) j^ Ni, Duke JjJ ^, 134 

K (ft (Pi * ft). '6 5 

Lu Chiu-yuan (Lu Hsiang-shan) 

A 88 (ft ft UP' l6 5-7> Pan Ku JJE [SJ, 127 

170-2 P'cng Meng J^ ^, in 

Lu g, 166 P'ing, Emperor (Han) 2p ^jf 

Lu Tsu-ch'ien g jf[ ^, 165 (g|), 127 

Laing-chang f| $, 168 Po Shin fjf t, 115 

Ma Yung ^ gj, 130, 178 
Meng ], 59-61, 72, 98, 103, 105, 

161 Shang ^, 15, 17, 39, 87, 88, 115 

Meng K'o (Master Meng) ]j Shang Yang (Lord Shang) $j 

iSff 27, 37 59-89. 90, Qi, 93. ^> 107-10, 1 12-4 

94> 96~9> 102, 103, 107, 130, Shao g|$, 159 

I33 138, I39> i6i> 170 Shao Yung gfl |g, 151-3, 155-7, 
Ming fjfj, 146, 167, 174, 175, 185, 159, 161 

1 86 Shen Nung jjjtjj J^, 70 

Ming, Emperor (Han) ^Q ^ Shen Pu-hai f|j xfi ^, 107, 108, 

(8I)> J 33 ! 3 6 II0 



Shen Tao ^ gj, 107, no 

Shen-hsiu f$ ^, 145 

r/jtA jUs 107 

^ ^, 108 

rAw Jg, 25 

Shu-sung Tung $i fa ^, 

Shun $, 50, 78, 87, 88, 138, 157, 

170, 179 

Shun-yu K'un j^f ^f ^, 72, 73 
Shun-yu Yueh ?f^ "T" rI 5 
Sian g T^f, 114 
Ssu-ma Kuang ^ j^ ^, 153 
5su-ma Niu ^\ ,fg ^, 20 
5u Ch'in Jj^ ^, 57 
Sun ^, 189 
Sun Wu ^ gj, 57, 58 

Tai Tung-yuan ^ Jfc Jg, 176 

Tamo jg J||, 144 

Tang $&, 138 

T*ang |fc, 134, 135, 138-41, 146, 

149, 164 
tao Jg, 25, 28, 34, 43, 62, 73, 90, 

92, 102, 138, 139, 142, 143, 157, 

1 60, 164, 1 68 
Tao (Tao) 5^, 42, 43, 45, 53, 102, 

141, 146, 147 
Teh & 43 

T'eng j[^, 61-3, 66, 70, 71 
T'icnP'ien IQ !$, m 

g, 135 

121, 122 

Tsai-yu ^ 
Wai Yung 

Sun Yat-sen fa ^ >fjl|, 183, 189 Tseng Wan (Master Tseng) 

Sung 5jc (state), 17, 20, 44, 47, 
61, 81 (dynasty), 141, 146, 149, 
J 57 159, 1 60, 163, 164, 

Sung Hsing 


Tai ^, 176 
Tai Chi-t'ao 

g, 189 

^,27-31,36,62,74, 103, 138, 

176, 177 

Tsin |f, 36, 107 
Tso Ch'iu-miiig ^ f^ ^, 126 
Tsou $|5, 59, 62, 64, 68 
Tsu-ch'ien jjjjj. Kg (see Lu Tsu- 


Tbiing-mi ^ ^, 145, 146 
Tung |g, 124-6, 132, 178 
Tung Chung-shu (Master Tung) 



J| /[iji ffi , 124-7, 130, 132, Wen, King (Ghou) 

154, 178, 179 22, 138, 156 

Tzu-ch'an ^ jig, 49, 107 Wey f$j, 31, 37 

Tzu-chang ^f- ijj|, 27, 29, 91 Wu JJ|, 57 

Tzu-hsia Hp- jj, 24, 29, 91 Wu, Emperor (Han) j ' 

Tzu-k'ai -^ [$, 27 120-3, 127, 128, 186 

Tzu-kung -^ 4, 29, 103 Wu, Emperor (Liang) 

Tzu-lu ^ jj, 19 (), 137, 144 

Tzu-shou ^f- |=| (see Lu Chiu- Wu, Emperor (T'ang) 

ling) (^a)> '4' ! 4 X 

Tzu-ssu ^p 27, 31-4, 36, 44, Wu, King (Ghou) j ; 

60, 74J9 1 . i3 'S 8 

Tzu-yu -^ {g, 29, 91 aii-wj ^ ^, 41, 148 

Wang An-shih ] ^ ^, 152 >fl^ ('^ng) |^, 5 8 , 75 95> ^ 

Wang Ch'ung 3E 3^' I 3 I ~3> X 42 130, I33> ^6, 154, 157, 158, 162 

Wang Hsu 3 ^, 56 Yang ^, 69 

Wang Mang 3{ ^, 129 Yang Chu jfe Jfc, 4 8 -5O 68, 69 

Wang Pi 3E J^j' J 47 Yang Hsiung ^ #[, 130 

Wang Yang-ming 3 |^ Hj], Yang-ming ^ HJ], (see Wang 

1 67-73, 189 Yang-ming) 

j^> ^o Yangtze (River) J|p -J- (), 40, 

Wei ^, 36, 48, 56, 57, 61, 107, 1 13 144 

Wen, Duke (T'eng) ^ fc (j^), Yao ^, 78, in, 138, 157, 170, 179 

62,63 Yenfl|6, 36,57,66, 113 

Wen, Emperor (Han) ^ ^j? Yen Hui R , 20, 27 

,), xao, lai Yen Yuan gg 7^, 175 




yi |$> 25, 64, 78, 79, 88, 125, 190 Yu Jo 

Yi (River) ffi ()\\), 155 Yuan g^, 148 

Yi Ghih 1^1 ;, 69 Yiian ^,183 

Vin (Tin) |S, 58, 75, 95, 124, 130, Yuan Chi g^ |^, 148 

I33> H6, i54 *57 158, 162 Yuan Shih-k'ai ^ -jt (L, 183, 
Yu Jf J} 44, 45, 50, 138 184, 187 

Part Two: Titles of Books 

Chou Li (Ritual of Chou) ffl jjjg, Hsin Li-hsueh (New Rational PMU- 

128, 176 sophy) ={pf g| fi, 189 

Chuang-tzu $ ^f-, 107 

Chuang-tzu Cku (Commentary on the I Ching (Classic of Change) ^ $g, 

Chuang-tzu) ^ ? % S' J 47 22, 119, 122, 143, 147, 152-6, 

Ch'un Ch'iu {Spring and Autumn) 160, 176 

$ $t' S 3> 119* 120, 122, 124, 

126 Ku-liang Chuan (Ku-liang Commm- 
Ch'un Ch'iu Fan Lu (Copious Dew in tary) $j ^ (j|, 127, 128 

Spring and Autumn) ^ ^ ^ Kuan-tzu ^ -f, 107 

f:, 124 Kung-yang Chuan (Kung-yang Com- 
Chung-yung (Doctrine of the Mean) mentary) -J^^fl|, 127, 178, 180 

4 1 JS 32-4, 68, 143, 161 

Lao-tzu Jj ^ (see also Too Teh 

Ching), 107 

Hsiao Ching (Classic of Filial Piety) Lao-tzu Chu (Commentary on the 

3 $SE> 28, 120, 176 Classic of Too) ^ ^f- j^, 147 

Hsin Ch l ing-nien (The New Youth) Li Chi (Record of Rites) jjj|| fg, 22, 
[, 185 119, 122, 180 



Ij ^ 49 Shu Ching (Classic of History) ^ 

Lun Heng (Animadversions] fjjf ^, jgi, 22, 87, in, 117, 119, 120, 

131 122 

Lun-yu (Analects) ffe fg, 28-30, 

33> 34> 68, 120, 147, 161 Ta-hsueh (The Great Learning) -fc 

*&> 30-2, 34 68, 143, 161, 163, 

Ueng-tzu ] -^P, 68, 72, 143, 161, Ta-tung Shu (Book oj the Grea< 
170 Commonwealth) ^C [n] ^f> l & 

Too Teh Ching (Claim oj Too) Jf| 

^ |g, 40-3, 147, 149 
Shang-chun Shu (Book oj Lord Shang) Tso Chuan ( Tso Commentary) ~f 

1$ I* =6. 109 fij ^7, 128 

Shih Ching (Classic of Poetry) ^ Tueh Ching (Classic of Music) $fe 
$g, 22, 117, 119, 122, 130 jgg, 101, 119 

The Pelican History of the World 


This is the first volume to appear in The Pelican History of 
the World, planned as a series of national histories, and as 
a history of the modern world. Each volume is written by 
a specialist, and the emphasis given to such matters as 
trade, religion, politics, foreign relations, intellectual and 
social life, will vary between the different volumes, but 
by studying each country's record and tradition, an over- 
all picture of the present mental, social, and political 
state of the world will be presented. 

This book is an introduction to contemporary China. 
After an account of the geographic setting and its effect ' 
on the people, the first part of the book gives the historical 
background, describing the impact of the West after the 
end of the war with Great Britain in 1842. There is a 
fascinating study of the subsequent effort for survival of 
China's ancient civilization, which did not begin to 
crumble until after 1900. With the present century the 
account becomes more detailed (about half the book is 
devoted to the modern period). The successive phases of 
the cultural revolution are traced, and the book comes 
right up to the present day, discussing the effects of the 
Japanese invasion and the Second World War, the rise of 
Communism, and the seizure of power by the Com- 
munists. (A 302) 

As a narrative the book is astonishingly good, compression for 
once serving the end of clarity instead of creating confusion. On 
controversial matters, notably the history of the years since World 
War II, Professor Latourette is both fair-minded and wisely cau- 
tious. His bibliography is itself evidence of his impartiality as 
well as of the wide range of his readings. 9 - The Birmingham 


Genet al l.ditoi : A. J. Ayct, (jtolc Piofcssoi of the Philosophy 
of Ahnd and Logic in the I miemlv oj London 

RKRKELEY (Aitt(i) byG.jf. Wanioik, of Magdalen College, \fonl 
An introduction to the writings ol the eighteenth-century 
Irish philosopher (us) 

RUTLER'S MORAL PHILOSOPHY (A244) by Austin Duncan- 
jfone i , of B n m i nghani L r n 1 1 vv \ / / v 

An explanation oi the eighteenth-century Bishop's treatment 
ol the foundation of ethic s (us bd) 

Lriiics (AUf)'}) by P. If. j\owt II -Smith, of Tnmty (.'olleqc* \fonl 
A cKissifu ation of the words and (oiu^epts in daily use and 
the connexions between them (3s Ocl) 

i EIRNIZ (A 30 -3) by Ruth Lydia Stiw, Head of the Department of 
Philosophy, llnkbetk ('.olle^e, London 

One ol the threat seventeenth-century intellcc tuals whose new 
system ol philosophy is explained (us (xl) 

JOHN LOCKE (\a()7) by J)> jf- (TC.oumn, Leitwer in Philosophy at 
Umvenity College^ Noith Stajfoidslme 

A critical intioduction to the sevcuiteenth-centui y cmpiiicist 
who loundcd the British philosophical tradition (us bd) 

JOHN STUART MILL (A 274) by Karl Button, of Kings College, 

An introduction to the leaching of this famous nineteenth- 
century political philosopher (us) 

I'LIKCh AND PRAGMATISM (AU')l) by W. B. Gallic, 

of Logu and Aletaphysus at the (Jjtteu\ Umvenityo/ lleltast 

An explanation of the theories of the great ninetecnth- 

ccntiiry American philosopher (usbd) 

SPINO/A (AU53) by Stuart Hampshue, of New College, O\fonl 
A general introduction to the work of the seventeenth- 
century Dutch philosopher (us bd) 


Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford 

An enquiry into the use and abuse of language in the making 

of political theories (as) 


d'cnertil Ldiloi : A. J. Ayet 9 drolc Pi oft \\ot of the Phi/o\o/>hv 
oj Mind and Lnic in the I intently of London 

B I-. R K I-. r , E Y (A 2 8(>) by G. J. 1 1 T tu nock , of ^ labial en Colh ;v, O \for <l 
An introduction to the writings oi the eighteenths entuiy 
lush plnlosoplicr (LJS) 

BI ILER'S MORAL PIIII OSOPHY (-Man) by Amlui Duman- 
Jon<">, '>/ Hnnunqhani i 'niwnily 

An explanation of the ei^hleenlli-rentury Bishop's liralinent 
of the lound.ition ol ethics (2s (>clj 

' i nic:s (A'j<n) by P. H. Aowtll-Snul/i, of 7 unity (. t ullc%t\ \Juid 
\ dassifu at ion of the uouls and (oiuepts in daily use and 
the connexions bet\\eeii them (;js ()dj 

^jO")) bv Ruth Lyditi .SV/.-c, Head of the Dcjitulint'til oj 
i BitLbuk (.'tillt'gt'i London 
C^nc ot the tn\it se\enteenth-< entui\ mtelle( dials \vhose new 
system oi philosophy is explained ('js (jcl) 

JOHN I.OCKK (\'j(>7) hy !) J- O'C.ontwi, Led met in Philowphy at 
i mrenifv Collcsy\ North Slal/onl\/ine 

A cutiral intiocliu lion to tlie seventeenths onlury empn icisL 
who (ounded the Biitish plnlosophual liadition (us ()d) 

JOHN STUART MILL (Aijyj) by hail Bnllon, of Kin\ College, 
Niwc a \lle-on- 1 Mie 

An intiodiKtion to the teaching of this famous nmcteenth- 
century ])oliti(al pliiloho])hei (2s) 

I'KiRCE AND PRAGMATISM (\'- > " ) i) by IT. B. (',alln\ Pn)fc\wr 
of LO^H nnd Mel(il>hy\u s at the QM cn\ i 'niremly oj Jiel/tnt 
An explanation oi the theories ol the threat nineteenth- 
century Amciican philosopher (asbd) 

SPINO/A (A2 r )3) by Stuatt H(nn{>\)nn\ of New (,'ollee, \fottl 
A general introduction io the work of the seventeenth- 
century Dutch philosopher (us ud) 

'i UK VOCABULARY OF POLITICS (A u 70) by T. D. Weldan, 
Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford 

An enquiry into the use and abuse of language in the making 
of political theories (us) 

Liu Wu-Chi was born in 1907. He comes from a literary 
Chinese family, he had a classical Chinese education in 
early youth, and later attended schools of a Western kind. 

After graduating from Tsing Hua College in Peking, in 
1927, he studied in the United States and received a Ph.D. 
from Yale University in 1931. He then came to England 
where he studied at London University and did research in 
the British Museum before returning to China. 

He taught for fourteen years as professor of Western 
language and literature in Chinese universities, and was 
engaged in the Chinese Renaissance movement as editor of 
a literary supplement of a leading newspaper in Tientsin. 
and later as editor of a literary journal in Chungking dur- 
ing the war years. A regular contributor to Chinese news- 
papers and periodicals, and author of more than ten books 
in the Chinese language, his first public work appeared at 
the age of nineteen. After the war he went to the U.S.A. 
as visiting professor of Chinese culture at a number of 
American colleges, including Yale University. He has 
received a Bollmgen Foundation fellowship for three 
years, to work on a history of Confucian philosophy, on 
the occasion of the 2500th anniversary of Confucius' birth. 
He is at present Director of the Department of Chinese 
StudJes at Hartwick College In New York state.